Elections in Estonia

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politics and government of

Estonia elects a legislature on the national level. The Riigikogu has 101 members, elected for a four-year term by proportional representation. A head of state - the president - is elected for a five-year term by parliament (1st-3rd round) or an electoral college (4th and subsequent rounds). Locally, Estonia elects local government councils, which vary in size. Election law states the minimum size of a council depending on the size of municipality. Local government councils are elected by proportional representation too.

  • The minimum number of council members is prescribed to be at least 7 seats
  • Over 2,000 inhabitants: at least 13 seats
  • Over 5,000 inhabitants: at least 17 seats
  • Over 10,000 inhabitants: at least 21 seats
  • Over 50,000 inhabitants: at least 31 seats
  • Over 300,000 inhabitants: at least 79 seats

Estonia has a multi-party system with numerous parties. Often no one party has the chance to gain power alone and parties must work with each other to form coalition governments.

Public elections have taken place in the following years: Past elections:

  • Riigikogu (parliament): 1992, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015
  • Local/municipal: 1993, 1996, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2009, 2013
  • European parliament: 2004, 2009, 2014
  • Referendums: 2003 (EU)
  • President: 1992 (Presidential elections since 1996 have taken place in Riigikogu or Electoral College)

Latest national election

Party Votes % Seats +/–
Estonian Reform Party158,89727.730–3
Estonian Centre Party142,45724.827+1
Social Democratic Party87,16815.215–4
Pro Patria and Res Publica Union78,67913.714–9
Free Party49,8828.78New
Conservative People's Party46,7638.17+7
Estonian Greens5,1910.900
Party of People's Unity2,2900.40New
Estonian Independence Party1,0450.200
Estonian United Left Party7630.10New
Invalid/blank votes3,755
Registered voters/turnout899,79364.2
Source: VVK

European elections


The Constitution of Estonia gives the Parliament of Estonia the power to submit a bill or other national issue to a referendum (article 105 of the Constitution[1]). The result of the vote is binding. If a bill which is submitted to a referendum does not receive a majority of votes in favour, the President of the Republic shall declare extraordinary elections to the Parliament.

There are some issues which cannot be submitted to the referendum: issues regarding the budget, taxation, financial obligations of the state, ratification and denunciation of international treaties, the declaration or termination of a state of emergency, or national defence (article 105 of the Constitution[1]).

Some parts of the Constitution (chapters "General Provisions" and "Amendment of the Constitution") can be amended only by a referendum (article 162 of the Constitution[1]). The rest of Constitution can be amended either by

  • a referendum;
  • two successive memberships of the Parliament;
  • the Parliament, as a matter of urgency (article 163 of the Constitution[1]).

A three-fifths majority of the membership of the Parliament is required to submit a bill to amend the Constitution to a referendum (article 164 of the Constitution[1]).

A referendum was called by the Parliament of Estonia on 2 occasions since Estonia regained independence from the USSR.

Also, there was a referendum on the restoration of Estonian independence in 1991 while Estonia was still under Soviet occupation.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Constitution of Estonia". Retrieved 2013-11-01.
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