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The Riigikogu (from riigi-, of the state, and kogu, assembly) is the parliament of Estonia. All important state-related questions pass through the Riigikogu. In addition to approving legislation, the Riigikogu appoints high officials, including the Prime Minister and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and elects (either alone or, if necessary, together with representatives of local government within a broader electoral college) the President. The Riigikogu also ratifies significant foreign treaties that impose military and proprietary obligations, bring about changes in law, etc.; approves the budget presented by the government as law and monitors the executive power.




Early elections

April 23, 1919, the opening session of the Estonian Constituent Assembly is the birthday of the Estonian Parliament. [1] The first elections to the Riigikogu took place in 1920. From 1920 to 1938, there were five more elections to the Riigikogu, but several were on the basis of different constitutions. In 1920–1923 there was a closed list, while from 1926 to 1934 there was an optional open list choice. The basis of election was until 1932 proportional representation. The elections were on a regional basis, without any threshold in the first two elections, but from 1926 a moderate threshold (2%) was used.


19381940 the Riigikogu was divided into two chambers: The Riigivolikogu (lower chamber) and the Riiginõukogu (upper chamber).

It was replaced by the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic (August 25, 1940–1990) and the Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia (May 8, 1990 – September 29, 1992).

Toompea castle

Since 1922, the sessions of the Riigikogu have taken place in the Toompea castle, where a new building in the exquisite expressionist and in an unusually modern style was erected to the former courtyard of the medieval castle in 1920–1922. During the subsequent periods of Soviet (1940–41), German (1941–44) and second Soviet occupation of Estonia (1944–1991) the Riigikogu was disbanded. The castle and the building of Riigikogu was used by the Supreme Soviet of Estonian SSR.

Independence from the Soviet Union

In September 1992, a year after Estonia had regained its independence from the Soviet Union, elections to the Riigikogu took place according to the Constitution of Estonia adopted in the summer of the same year. According to the 1992 constitution, the Riigikogu has 101 members. The present Riigikogu was elected on March 4, 2007. The main differences between this system and a pure political representation system are the established 5% national threshold, and the use of a modified d'Hondt formula (the divisor is raised to the power 0.9). This modification makes for more unproportionality than does the usual form of the formula.

Latest election

e • d Summary of the 4 March 2007 Parliament of Estonia election results
Party Ideology Votes % Change Seats Change
  Estonian Reform Party (Eesti Reformierakond) Classical liberalism 153,044 27.8% +10.1% 31 +12
  Estonian Centre Party (Eesti Keskerakond) Social liberalism 143,518 26.1% +0.7% 29 +1
  Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica (Isamaa ja Res Publica Liit)1 Conservatism 98,347 17.9% –14.0% 19 –16
  Social Democratic Party (Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Erakond)2 Social democracy 58,363 10.6% +3.6% 10 +4
  Estonian Greens (Erakond Eestimaa Rohelised)3 Green politics 39,279 7.1% +7.1% 6 +6
  People's Union of Estonia (Eestimaa Rahvaliit) Agrarianism 39,215 7.1% –5.9% 6 –7
  Party of Estonian Christian Democrats (Erakond Eesti Kristlikud Demokraadid)4 Christian democracy 9,456 1.7% +0.7% 0
  Constitution Party (Konstitutsioonierakond)5 Russian minority, left-wing 5,464 1.0% –1.2% 0
  Estonian Independence Party (Eesti Iseseisvuspartei) Euroscepticism, Nationalism 1,273 0.2% –0.4% 0
  Russian Party in Estonia (Vene Eesti Erakond) Russian minority 1,084 0.2% ±0.0% 0
  Estonian Left Party (Eesti Vasakpartei)6 Democratic socialism 607 0.1% –0.3% 0
  Independents 563 0.1% –0.3% 0
Total 550,213 100.0% 101

^Note 1  Compared to the sum of the Res Publica Party and the Pro Patria Union, who merged to form the Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica in 2006.
^Note 2  Compared to the Moderate People's Party, which became the Social Democratic Party in 2004.
^Note 3  The Greens did not participate in the previous elections.
^Note 4  Compared to the Estonian Christian People's Union, which became the Party of Estonian Christian Democrats in 2006.
^Note 5  Compared to the Estonian United People's Party, which became the Constitution Party in 2006.
^Note 6  Compared to the Estonian Social Democratic Labour Party, which became the Estonian Left Party in 2004.

Current seats allocation

Parliament building in Toompea Castle: the seat of the Parliament.

Speakers of the Riigikogu

Speakers of the Riigivolikogu (lower chamber)

  • Jüri Uluots April 21, 1938 – October 12, 1939
  • Otto Pukk October 17, 1939 – July 5, 1940
  • Arnold Veimer July 21, 1940 – August 25, 1940

Speaker of the Riiginõukogu (upper chamber)

Chairman of the Supreme Council (1990–1992)

Speaker of the Supreme Council (1990–1992)

  • Ülo Nugis March 29, 1990 – October 5, 1992

Speakers of the Riigikogu (after 1992)

  • Ülo Nugis October 21, 1992 – March 21, 1995
  • Toomas Savi March 21, 1995 – March 31, 2003
  • Ene Ergma March 31, 2003 – March 23, 2006
  • Toomas Varek March 23, 2006 – April 2, 2007
  • Ene Ergma April 2, 2007 – Present

External links

See also



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