Prime Minister of Estonia

The Prime Minister of Estonia (Estonian: peaminister, literally Main Minister or Head Minister) is the head of government of the Republic of Estonia. The prime minister is nominated by the President after appropriate consultations with the parliamentary factions and confirmed by the Parliament. In case of disagreement, the Parliament can reject the President's nomination and choose their own candidate. In practice, since the Prime Minister must maintain the confidence of Parliament in order to remain in office, they are usually the leader of the senior partner in the governing coalition. The current Prime Minister is Kaja Kallas of the Reform Party.[2] She took the office on 26 January 2021.

Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia
Eesti Vabariigi peaminister
Coat of Arms of Estonia
Incumbent
Kaja Kallas

since 26 January 2021
Member ofEuropean Council
ResidenceStenbock House, Tallinn
AppointerPresident of Estonia
Term lengthNo term limits. Parliamentary elections held every four years.
Inaugural holderKonstantin Päts
Formation24 February 1918
Salary€5,288 monthly[1]
Websitehttp://valitsus.ee/

In their role as appointed by the President and laid forth in the Constitution, Prime Ministers serve as the head of government. They do not head any specific ministry, but are, in accordance with the constitution, the supervisor of the work of the government. The Prime Minister’s significance and role in the government and their relations with other ministries often depend on the position of the party led by the prime minister in vis-à-vis the coalition partners, and on how much influence the prime minister possesses within its own party. If the prime minister has a strong position within his/her party, and the government is made up solely of representatives of that party, the prime minister can enjoy considerable authority. In all crucial national questions, however, the final word rests with Riigikogu as the legislative power.

Unlike counterparts in other parliamentary republics, the Prime Minister is both de jure and de facto chief executive. This is because the Constitution explicitly vests executive power in the Government, of which the Prime Minister is the leader. In most other parliamentary republics, the president is at least nominal chief executive, while bound by convention to act on the cabinet's advice.

History

Estonia was governed by a Prime Minister during the first two years (1918–1920) of its independence after the collapse of the Russian Empire.

Under Estonia's 1920 constitution, the head of government was called the State Elder (riigivanem), who was also head of state. This system was a radically parliamentary system because the State Elder could be dismissed by the Parliament with a simple majority. Moreover, the State Elder was not the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, nor could he ratify laws or dissolve Parliament. The dissolution of Parliament was only possible through a referendum.[3] Under a new constitution passed by plebiscite in 1933, the position of prime minister was recreated as head of government in 1934 in a more presidential system. Under this constitution, the president could appoint and dismiss the prime minister and Cabinet, veto laws, give decrees (statutes) and dissolve Parliament.[4] The sitting State Elder, Konstantin Päts, appointed himself to the position of prime minister and in this position was then able to suspend elections for Elder of State and for the Estonian Parliament. He remained prime minister, declaring himself "President-Regent", until 1938, when elections were held under a new constitution and he was elected president.

1918–1920

Portrait Name Term of Office Political Party Cabinet Riigikogu
(Election)
Separate
Head of State
Took Office Left Office Days
The executive order of the Provisional Government and the Council of Elders of the Provincial Assembly replaced the office of Chairman of the Council of Ministers.
Konstantin Päts
(1874–1956)
Chairman of the Council of Ministers
of the Provisional Government
24 February 1918 12 November 1918 440 Country People's Union
(EMRL)
Päts I Provisional
EMRL–ETE–EDE–ESDTP
Provisional
Provincial
Assembly
(1917)
None
Prime Minister
of the Provisional Government
12 November 1918 27 November 1918 Päts II Provisional
EMRL–ETE–EDE
EMRL–ETE–EDE–ESDTP
[Note 1]
27 November 1918 9 May 1919 Päts III Provisional
EMRL–ETE–EDE–ESDTP
EMRL–ETE–EDE–ESDTP–SEE
EMRL–ETE–EDE–ESDTP–SEE–VKK
EMRL–ETE–ERE–ESDTP–SEE–VKK
[Note 2]
1 Otto August Strandman
(1875–1941)
1st Prime Minister
9 May 1919 18 November 1919 194 Labour Party
(ETE)
Strandman I
ETE–ESDTP–ERE
ETE–ESDTP
[Note 3]
Constituent
Assembly
(1919)
2 Jaan Tõnisson
(1868–1941?)
2nd Prime Minister
18 November 1919 28 July 1920 254 People's Party
(ERE)
Tõnisson I
ERE–ETE–ESDTP
ERE–ETE–(ESDTP)
[Note 4]
3 Ado Birk
(1883–1942)
3rd Prime Minister
28 July 1920 30 July 1920 3 People's Party
(ERE)
Birk
ERE–ETE–KRE
4 Jaan Tõnisson
(1868–1941?)
4th Prime Minister
(2nd term)
30 July 1920 26 October 1920 89 People's Party
(ERE)
Tõnisson II
ERE
5 Ants Piip
(1884–1942)
5th Prime Minister
26 October 1920 20 December 1920 92 Labour Party
(ETE)
Piip
ETE
The 1920 Constitution replaced the office with State Elder.

1934–1937

Portrait Name Term of Office Political Party Cabinet Riigikogu
(Election)
Separate
Head of State
Took Office Left Office Days
The 1934 Constitution divided the office of State Elder between a new office called State Elder and a Prime Minister.
6 Konstantin Päts
(1874–1956)

6th Prime Minister
(in duties of the State Elder)

24 January 1934 3 September 1937 1,319 Farmers' Assemblies
(PK)
[Note 5]
Päts V
non-party coalition
[Note 6]
V
(1932)
Prime Minister
in duties of
the State Elder
Konstantin
Päts
None
[Note 7]
Parliament
disbanded
[Note 8]
The Amendment Act of the 1938 Constitution temporarily merged the offices of State Elder and Prime Minister into President-Regent.

1938–1944

Portrait Name Term of Office Political Party Cabinet Riigikogu
(Election)
Separate
Head of State
Took Office Left Office Days
The 1938 Constitution divided the office of President-Regent between a President and a Prime Minister.
7 Kaarel Eenpalu
(formerly Karl August Einbund)
(1888–1942)
Acting Prime Minister
24 April 1938 9 May 1938 537 None
[Note 7]
Päts V
(continued)
non-party coalition
[Note 6]
Parliament
disbanded
[Note 9]
President
Konstantin
Päts

(1938–1940)
7th Prime Minister
(2nd term)
9 May 1938 12 October 1939 Eenpalu II
non-party coalition
[Note 10]
VI
(1938)
8 Jüri Uluots
(1890–1945)
8th Prime Minister
12 October 1939 21 June 1940
[Note 11]
254 None
[Note 7]
Uluots
non-party coalition
1st Soviet Occupation (1940–1941)
German Occupation (1941–1944)
Otto Tief
(1889–1976)
Acting Prime Minister
18 September 1944
[Note 12]
25 September 1944
[Note 13]
8 None Tief
non-party coalition
Parliament
disbanded
Prime Minister
in duties of
the President
Jüri Uluots
[Note 14]
2nd Soviet Occupation
(See Estonian Government in Exile)

1990–present

Portrait Name Term of Office Political Party Cabinet Riigikogu
(Election)
Separate
Head of State
Took Office Left Office Days
2nd Soviet Occupation
(See Estonian Government in Exile)
Edgar Savisaar
(b. 1950)
1st Prime Minister
of the Interim Government
3 April 1990
[Note 15]
29 January 1992 668 Popular Front of Estonia
(ERR)
[Note 16]
Estonian People's Centre Party
(ERKE)
Savisaar Interim
various coalition partners
Supreme
Soviet
(1990)
[Note 17]
Chairman of the
Supreme Soviet
Chairman of the
Supreme Council
Arnold Rüütel
[Note 17]
Tiit Vähi
(b. 1947)
2nd Prime Minister
of the Interim Government
29 January 1992 21 October 1992 266 None Vähi Interim
various coalition partners
President
Lennart Georg Meri
(1992–2001)
[Note 18]
9 Mart Laar
(b. 1960)
9th Prime Minister
21 October 1992 8 November 1994 749 Pro Patria
(I)
[Note 19]
Pro Patria National Coalition Party
(RKEI)
Laar I

IM–ERSP
RKEI–M–ERSP
RKEI–M–ERSP–ELDP
RKEI–M–ERSP–(ELDP)
RKEI–M–ERSP–ELDP
[Note 20]
[Note 21]

VII
(1992)
10 Andres Tarand
(b. 1940)
10th Prime Minister
8 November 1994 17 April 1995 161 Moderates
(M)
[Note 20]
Tarand
M–RKEI–ERSP–ELDP–VKRE
[Note 20]
11 Tiit Vähi
(b. 1947)
11th Prime Minister
(2nd term)
17 April 1995 6 November 1995 701 Coalition Party and
Country People's Alliance

(KMÜ)
Vähi I
KMÜ–EKE
VIII
(1995)
6 November 1995 17 March 1997 Vähi II
KMÜ–ERE
KMÜ
KMÜ–AP
[Note 22]
12 Mart Siimann
(b. 1946)
12th Prime Minister
17 March 1997 25 March 1999 739 Coalition Party and
Country People's Alliance

(KMÜ)
Siimann
KMÜ–AP
13 Mart Laar
(b. 1960)
13th Prime Minister
(2nd term)
25 March 1999 28 January 2002 1,041 Pro Patria Union
(IL)
Laar II
IL–RM–ERE
IX
(1999)
President
Arnold Rüütel
(2001–2006)
[Note 18]
14 Siim Kallas
(b. 1948)
14th Prime Minister
28 January 2002 10 April 2003 438 Reform Party
(ERE)
S. Kallas
ERE–EKE
15 Juhan Parts
(b. 1966)
15th Prime Minister
10 April 2003 12 April 2005 735 Res Publica Party
(RP)
Parts
RP–ERE–ERL
X
(2003)
16 Andrus Ansip
(b. 1956)
16th Prime Minister
12 April 2005 5 April 2007 3,271 Reform Party
(ERE)
Ansip I
ERE–EKE–ERL
President
Toomas Hendrik Ilves
(2006–2016)
[Note 18]
5 April 2007 6 April 2011 Ansip II
ERE–IRL–SDE
ERE–IRL
[Note 23]
XI
(2007)
6 April 2011 26 March 2014 Ansip III
ERE–IRL
XII
(2011)
17 Taavi Rõivas
(b. 1979)
17th Prime Minister
26 March 2014 9 April 2015 973 Reform Party
(ERE)
Rõivas I
ERE–SDE
9 April 2015 23 November 2016 Rõivas II
ERE–SDE–IRL
XIII
(2015)
President
Kersti Kaljulaid
(2016–incumbent)
18 Jüri Ratas
(b. 1978)
18th Prime Minister
23 November 2016 29 April 2019 1525 Centre Party
(EKE)
Ratas I
EKE–SDE–IRL
EKE–SDE–I
[Note 24]
29 April 2019 26 January 2021 Ratas II
EKE–EKRE–I
XIV
(2019)
19 Kaja Kallas
(b. 1977)
19th Prime Minister
26 January 2021 Incumbent 126 Reform Party
(ERE)
Kallas
ERE–EKE

References

  1. "Riigikogu liikmete ja teiste kõrgemate riigiteenijate palk ei muutu". Postimees. 15 March 2017.
  2. "8th parliamentary term, European Parliament". europarl.europa.eu. Archived from the original on 6 March 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  3. (Seppo Zetterberg, "A History of Estonia" / Viron historia. 3rd edition. Helsinki: The Finnish Literary Society / Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2007, pages 524–525)
  4. (Zetterberg 2007, pages 558–559)

Notes

  1. The Estonian Social Democratic Workers' Party (ESDTP) joined the coalition on 16 November 1918.
  2. The German Party in Estonia (SEE) joined the coalition on 28 November 1918. The Russian Citizens' Assembly (VKK) joined the coalition on 28 February 1919. The Estonian Democratic Party (EDE) merged with the Estonian Radical Democratic Party (ERDE) to form the Estonian People's Party (ERE) on 1 March 1919 and the new party remained in the government.
  3. The Estonian People's Party (ERE) left the coalition on 20 September 1919.
  4. The Estonian Social Democratic Workers' Party (ESDTP) left the coalition on 1 July 1920, but its ministers remained in office.
  5. All political parties were banned on 20 March 1935.
  6. Although Konstantin Päts resigned as President-Regent on 24 April 1938 to become the President on the same day, his cabinet remained temporarily in office until 9 May 1938, headed by acting Prime Minister Kaarel Eenpalu.
  7. Was member of the Patriotic League which was the only sanctioned political organization, but which cannot be considered a political party per se.
  8. The "Era of Silence" began with Konstantin Päts' self-coup on 12 March 1934. The Riigikogu approved of the coup retroactively on 15 March 1934. The Riigikogu was thereafter not convened after 2 October 1934. It was officially disbanded on 1 January 1938.
  9. The "Era of Silence" began with Konstantin Päts' self-coup on 12 March 1934. The Riigikogu approved of the coup retroactively on 15 March 1934. The Riigikogu was thereafter not convened after 2 October 1934. It was officially disbanded on 1 January 1938.
  10. As Karl August Einbund Estonianized his name into Kaarel Eenpalu, his two cabinets are therefore known as Einbund I and Eenpalu II cabinets.
  11. The Soviet Union occupied Estonia on 17 June 1940. The Soviet regime staged a pro-Soviet coup d'état on 21 June 1940, replacing the Jüri Uluots cabinet with that of Johannes Vares. The Republic of Estonia does not consider the Johannes Vares cabinet a legal government of Estonia and considers the Jüri Uluots cabinet to have legally remained in office until 18 September 1944.
  12. Prime Minister in the duties of the President Jüri Uluots appointed a new government after the departure of German forces, hoping to restore Estonian independence before the arrival of Soviet forces.
  13. The Soviet Union occupied Estonia on 17 June 1940. The Soviet regime staged a pro-Soviet coup d'état on 21 June 1940, replacing the Jüri Uluots cabinet with that of Johannes Vares. The Republic of Estonia does not consider the Johannes Vares cabinet a legal government of Estonia and considers the Jüri Uluots cabinet to have legally remained in office until 18 September 1944.
  14. The legal Prime Minister Jüri Uluots assumed the role of Prime Minister in the duties of the President on 18 September 1944, after the departure of German forces and before the arrival of Soviet forces.
  15. The Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR on 30 March 1990 declared Soviet rule to have been illegal since 1940 and declared a transition period for full independence. Full independence was restored on 20 August 1991.
  16. The Popular Front of Estonia formed the Estonian People's Centre Party on 12 October 1991.
  17. The "Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic" was renamed the "Republic of Estonia" on 8 May 1990 and thus the translation of the Ülemnõukogu was changed from "Supreme Soviet" to "Supreme Council".
  18. President left the party upon assuming office.
  19. The electoral alliance "Pro Patria" formed the Pro Patria National Coalition Party on 21 November 1992.
  20. The electoral alliance "Moderates" (M) consisted of the Social Democratic Party (ESDP) and the Estonian Rural Centre Party (EMKE).
  21. The Estonian Liberal Democratic Party (ELDP) joined the coalition on 11 January 1994. Its ministers resigned on 21 June 1994, but the party decided to remain in the coalition and named a minister on 27 June 1994.
  22. The Estonian Reform Party (ERE) left the coalition on 1 December 1996. The Progress Party (AP) joined the coalition on 9 December 1996.
  23. The Social Democratic Party (SDE) left the coalition on 21 May 2009.
  24. The Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica was renamed Party Pro Patria on 2 June 2018.

See also

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