Prime Minister of Estonia

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Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia
Eesti Vabariigi peaminister
Coat of arms of Estonia.svg
KE Jüri Ratas.jpg
Incumbent
Jüri Ratas

since 23 November 2016
Residence Stenbock House, Tallinn
Appointer President of Estonia
Term length General elections to the Riigikogu are held every four years at most. The Prime Minister is by convention the leader of the victorious party. No term limits are imposed on the office.
Inaugural holder Konstantin Päts
Formation 24 February 1918
Website http://valitsus.ee/
Coat of arms of Estonia.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Estonia

The Prime Minister of Estonia (Estonian: Eesti Vabariigi peaminister, literally translated as Head Minister of Estonia) 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, he is usually the leader of the senior partner in the governing coalition. The current Prime Minister is Jüri Ratas of the Centre Party.

In his role as appointed by the President and laid forth in the Constitution, the Prime Minister serves as the head of government. He does not head any specific ministry, but is, in accordance with the constitution, the supervisor of the work of the government. The Prime Minister’s significance and role in the government and his 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 his own party. If the prime minister has a strong position within his party, and the government is made up solely of representatives of that party, he can enjoy considerable authority. In all crucial national questions, however, the final word rests with Riigikogu as the legislative power.

Unlike his 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 (see, for example, Seppo Zetterberg, "A History of Estonia" / Viron historia. 3rd edition. Helsinki: The Finnish Literary Society / Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2007, pages 524–525). 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 (see Zetterberg 2007, pages 558–559). 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.jpg Konstantin Päts
Prime Minister
of the Provisional Government
12 November 1918 9 May 1919 179 Country People's Union
(EMRL)
Päts I Provisional
EMRL–ETE–EDE–ESDTP
Provincial
Assembly
(1917)
None
Päts III Provisional
EMRL–ETE–EDE–ESDTP
EMRL–ETE–EDE–ESDTP–SEE
EMRL–ETE–EDE–ESDTP–SEE–VKK
EMRL–ETE–ER–ESDTP–SEE–VKK
EMRL–ETE–ER–ESRP–SEE–VKK
Otto August Strandman
(1875–1941)
1st Prime Minister
9 May 1919 18 November 1919 194 Labour Party
(ETE)
Strandman I
ETEESDTP–ER
Constituent
Assembly
(1919)
Jaan Tonisson1928.jpg Jaan Tõnisson
(1868–1941?)
2nd Prime Minister
18 November 1919 28 July 1920 254 People's Party
(ER)
Tõnisson I
ER–ETEESDTP
Ado Birk.jpg Ado Birk
(1883–1942)
3rd Prime Minister
28 July 1920 30 July 1920 3 People's Party
(ER)
Birk
ER–ETE–KRE
Jaan Tonisson1928.jpg Jaan Tõnisson
(1868–1941?)
4th Prime Minister
(2nd term)
30 July 1920 26 October 1920 89 People's Party
(ER)
Tõnisson II
ER
Ants Piip, 1923.jpg Ants Piip
(1884–1942)
5th Prime Minister
26 October 1920 20 December 1920 56 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.
Konstantin Päts.jpg Konstantin Päts
6th Prime Minister
(in duties of the State Elder)
(2nd term)
24 January 1934 3 September 1937 1,319 Farmers' Assemblies and
Association of Settlers
(PK/ARVK)
Päts V
non-party coalition
V
(1932)
Prime Minister
in duties of
the State Elder

Konstantin
Päts
Fatherland Union
(I)

[Note 1]
Parliament
disbanded

[Note 2]
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.
Kaarel Eenpalu.jpg Kaarel Eenpalu
(1888–1942)
Acting Prime Minister
24 April 1938 9 May 1938 537 Fatherland Union
(I)
Päts V
non-party coalition
[Note 3]
Parliament
disbanded
President
Konstantin
Päts

(1938-1940)
7th Prime Minister 9 May 1938 12 October 1939 Eenpalu II
non-party coalition
VI
(1938)
Jüri Uluots.jpg Jüri Uluots
(1890–1945)
8th Prime Minister
12 October 1939 21 June 1940 254 Fatherland Union
(I)
Uluots
non-party coalition
1st Soviet Occupation
German Occupation
Otto Tief.jpg Otto Tief
(1889–1976)
Acting Prime Minister
18 September 1944 25 September 1944 8 None Tief
non-party coalition
Parliament
disbanded
Prime Minister
in duties of
the President

Jüri Uluots
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 2005-crop.jpg Edgar Savisaar
(1950– )
1st Prime Minister of the Interim Government
3 April 1990
[Note 4]
29 January 1992 668 Popular Front
(RR)
Savisaar Interim
various coalition partners
Supreme
Council
(1990)

[Note 5]
Chairman of the
Supreme Council

Arnold Rüütel
Tiit Vähi teisel Arvamusfestivalil Narvas.jpg Tiit Vähi
(1947– )
2nd Prime Minister of the Interim Government
29 January 1992 21 October 1992 266 None Vähi Interim
various coalition partners
Mart Laar.png Mart Laar
(1960– )
9th Prime Minister
21 October 1992 8 November 1994 749 Fatherland
(I)
Laar I
IMERSP
IMERSPL
VII
(1992)
President
Lennart Georg Meri
(1991-2001)
Andres Tarand 12.4.2012.jpg Andres Tarand
(1940– )
10th Prime Minister
8 November 1994 17 April 1995 161 Moderates
(M)
Tarand
MIERSPLP
Tiit Vähi teisel Arvamusfestivalil Narvas.jpg Tiit Vähi
(1947– )
11th Prime Minister
(2nd term)
17 April 1995 17 March 1997 701 Coalition Party's and
Country People's Alliance

(KMÜ)
Vähi I
KMÜK
VIII
(1995)
Vähi II
KMÜER
KMÜ–AP
Siimann Mart.IMG 2960.JPG Mart Siimann
(1946– )
12th Prime Minister
17 March 1997 25 March 1999 739 Coalition Party's and
Country People's Alliance

(KMÜ)
Siimann
KMÜ–AP
Mart Laar.png Mart Laar
(1960– )
13th Prime Minister
(2nd term)
25 March 1999 28 January 2002 1,041 Pro Patria Union
(IL)
Laar II
ILRMRE
IX
(1999)
President
Arnold Rüütel
(2001-2006)
Kallas Siim.IMG 3350.JPG Siim Kallas
(1948– )
14th Prime Minister
28 January 2002 10 April 2003 438 Reform Party
(ER)
Kallas
ERK
Juhan-Parts.jpg Juhan Parts
(1966– )
15th Prime Minister
10 April 2003 12 April 2005 735 Res Publica Party
(RP)
Parts
RPERERL
X
(2003)
Portrait Andrus Ansip.jpg Andrus Ansip
(1956– )
16th Prime Minister
12 April 2005 26 March 2014 3,271 Reform Party
(ER)
Ansip I
ERKERL
President
Toomas Hendrik Ilves
(2006-2016)
Ansip II
ERIRLSDE
ERIRL
XI
(2007)
Ansip III
ERIRL
XII
(2011)
RE Taavi Rõivas.jpg Taavi Rõivas
(1979– )
17th Prime Minister
26 March 2014 23 November 2016 973 Reform Party
(ER)
Rõivas I
ERSDE
Rõivas II
ERSDEIRL
XIII
(2015)
President
Kersti Kaljulaid
(2016-)
KE Jüri Ratas.jpg Jüri Ratas
(1978– )
18th Prime Minister
23 November 2016 Incumbent 600 Centre Party
(K)
Ratas
KSDEIRL

Notes

  1. ^ All political parties were banned on 20 March 1935. The Fatherland Union was the only sanctioned political organization, but cannot be considered a political party per se.
  2. ^ The "Era of Silence" began on with Päts' self-coup on 21 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 October 1938.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ The Supreme Council 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.
  5. ^ Elections were for the "Supreme Soviet", but the translation of the assembly name was changed before the Interim Government was sworn in, on 29 March 1990.

See also

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