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Riigikogu (The Estonian Parliament)

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Parliament name (generic / translated) Riigikogu / The Estonian Parliament
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Structure of parliament Unicameral
Affiliation to the IPU Yes
Affiliation date(s) 1928 - 1939
1991 -
President Eiki Nestor (M) 
Notes Elected on 20 March 2014, re-elected on 30 March 2015, 24 March 2016, 23 March 2017 and 22 March 2018.
Secretary General Peep Jahilo (M) 
Notes 15 July 2017 - 14 July 2022
Members (statutory / current number) 101 / 101

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Women (current number) 27 (26.73%)
Mode of designation directly elected 101
Term 4 years
Last renewal dates 1 March 2015
(View details)
Address Riigikogu
Lossi plats 1A
(Export mailing lists)
Phone (372) 631 6331
Fax (372) 631 6334
E-mail riigikogu@riigikogu.ee


Parliament name (generic / translated) Riigikogu / The Estonian Parliament
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Electoral law 7 June 1994
Last amendment: 14/12/1994
Mode of designation directly elected 101
Constituencies 12 multi-member (6 to 13 seats, according to population) constituencies.
Voting system Proportional: Direct party-list voting with proportional distribution of seats in three rounds of counting according to a simple electoral quotient. The distribution of leftover "compensation mandates" (26 seats) takes place on the basis of a modified d'Hondt method.
Candidates are listed on the ballot paper on which each elector indicates his or her choice. In determining the electoral results, a simple quotient is calculated for each district by dividing the number of valid votes cast by the number of seats allocated to the district; each candidate who obtains more votes than this quotient is declared elected. Moreover, candidates presented on party lists are enumerated by order of votes obtained; each of these lists is allocated a number of seats equal to the number of times its votes obtained exceed the quotient, those candidates receiving the most votes being declared elected. Finally, mandates not assigned at the district level are distributed as national "compensation mandates" on the basis of a modified d'Hondt method among those parties and electoral coalitions whose candidates obtained at least 5% of the national vote.
Vacancies which occur between general elections are filled by candidates who are "next-in-line" on the list of the party or electoral coalition which formerly held the seat. They are also known as "substitute members".
Voting is not compulsory.
Voter requirements - age: 18 years
- Estonian citizenship
- disqualifications: mental incompetence, court conviction, detention
Eligibility Qualified electors
- age: 21 years
- Estonian citizenship
Incompatibilities - other public office
Candidacy requirements - candidates may be nominated by political parties, electoral unions or individual citizens
- an amount equal to approximately US$ 75 must be deposited with the National Election Committee in each case. The amount will be reimbursed provided the candidate in question is elected, obtains votes equal to at least 1/2 of the electoral quotient or appears on a national list entitled to "compensation mandates"
- nominations must be submitted at least 45 days prior to the elections


Parliament name (generic / translated) Riigikogu / The Estonian Parliament
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 1 March 2015
Timing and scope of renewal Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas' Reform Party remained the largest force with 30 seats in the 101-member parliament. It won three more seats than Centre Party, which draws support from Russian-speaking Estonians. On 9 April, the Reform Party formed a coalition government with the Estonian Social Democratic Party (SDE, a partner in the previous coalition) and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL, a new partner), thereby controlling 59 seats. 35-year old Rõivas, who succeeded Mr. Andrus Ansip as Prime Minister in March 2014, is the youngest head of government in the European Union.

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine placed national security at the centre of the election campaign, with some parties advocating for the country's membership of NATO. Other electoral issues included the minimum wage, child benefits and tax reform. At the opening of the new Parliament, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves underscored the need for a "national defence system built on solidarity and encompassing all of society".
Date of previous elections: 6 March 2011

Date of dissolution of the outgoing legislature: 24 March 2015

Timing of election: Upon normal expiry

Expected date of next elections: 3 March 2019

Number of seats at stake: 101 (full renewal)

Number of candidates: 872 (636 men, 236 women)

Percentage of women candidates: 27.1%

Number of parties contesting the election: 10

Number of parties winning seats: 6

Alternation of power: N/A*
*The composition of the government changed before the 2015 elections.

Number of parties in government: 3

Names of parties in government: Reform Party, Estonian Social Democratic Party (SDE) and Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL)

Date of the first session of the new parliament: 30 March 2015

Name of the new Speaker: Mr. Eiki Nestor (Estonian Social Democratic Party, SDE)
Voter turnout
Round no 11 March 2015
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
577'910 (64.23%)

Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political group Candidates Votes % of votes
Reform Party
Centre Party
Estonian Social Democratic Party (SDE)
Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL)
Free Party (EV)
Conservative People's Party (EKRE)
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total of seats
Reform Party 30
Centre Party 27
Estonian Social Democratic Party (SDE) 15
Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) 14
Free Party (EV) 8
Conservative People's Party (EKRE) 7
Distribution of seats according to sex


Percent of women


Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
Parliament (13.04.2015, 01.01.2017)


Parliament name (generic / translated) Riigikogu / The Estonian Parliament
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Title President of the Riigikogu
Term - duration: 1 year
- reasons for interruption of the term: resignation, entering upon other office, enforcement of conviction, resolution of the Supreme Court about the continuous incompetence in fulfilling his/her duties, death
Appointment - elected by all the Members of the Riigikogu during the first sitting of the Parliament
- after Members' mandates are validated and after Members are sworn in
Eligibility any Member may be a candidate but formal notification is required
Voting system - formal vote by secret ballot
- if no candidate obtains the required majority in the first ballot, the voting will be repeated: the candidates must get more than 50% of valid votes in the 1st and in the 2nd ballots, there will be a drawing of lots in the 3nd ballot
Procedures / results - the Chairman (or the Vice-Chairman) of the Election Committee of the Republic presides over the Assembly during the voting
- the Election Committee of the Republic supervises the voting
- the Chairman of the Election Committee of the Republic announces the results without any delay
- the results must be confirmed by the resolution of the Election Committee of the Republic
- the results can be challenged
Status - ranks 2nd in the hierarchy of State, after the Head of State
- represents the Assembly with the public authorities
- in the absence of the President, one of the 2 Vice-Presidents can assume his/her role and functions
Board - the Board of the Riigikogu consists of the President and 2 Vice-Presidents
- meets at the initiative of the President, usually every week of the plenary sitting
- it is a collegiate presidency where there are equal rights for all
Material facilities
Organization of parliamentary business - may convene extraordinary sessions
- gives the floor according to the law and may give permission for extending or interrupting the speeches
- refers texts to a committee for study, together with the other Members
- examines the admissibility of request for setting up committees and/or committees of enquiry, proposes or decides on the setting up of such committees, like the other Members of the Parliament
Chairing of public sittings - can open and close sittings, only the 2/3 majority can interrupt the sitting
- ensures respect for provisions of the Constitution and Standing Orders
- makes announcements concerning the Assembly
- may interrupt the speech by switching off the microphone, if a speech is longer than permitted or does not correspond to the parliamentary etiquette
- will put the questions to the voting, but the order of voting is regulated by law
- checks the quorum
- signs the adopted legal acts, does not endorse the shorthand reports
- the Board interprets the rules or other regulations governing the life of the Assembly
Special powers - has equal rights with other Members for establishing the budget
- the Board is responsible for relations with foreign Parliaments
- is responsible together with the other Members of the Board- for safety, and in this capacity, can call the police in the event of disturbance in the Assembly
Speaking and voting rights, other functions - takes the floor in legislative debates
- takes part in voting
- proposes bills or amendment
- intervenes in the parliamentary oversight procedure
- signs the laws adopted by the Assembly, and transmits it to the President of the Republic for promulgation


Parliament name (generic / translated) Riigikogu / The Estonian Parliament
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Nature of the mandate · Free representation (Art. 62 of the Constitution of 29.06.1992)
Start of the mandate · When the results are declared (Art. 61 (1) of the Constitution, Art. 40 (1) of the Electoral Law)
Validation of mandates · No validation
End of the mandate · On the day when the election results are declared (Art. 61 (1) of the Constitution) (for early dissolution, see Art. 89 (6), 97 (4), 105 (4), and 119 of the Constitution)
Can MPs resign? Yes · Of their own free will (see also Art. 64 (2) No. 3 of the Con-stitution)
· Procedure: application to the Board of the Riigikogu; the reason for resigning must be specified
· Authority competent to accept the resignation:
Can MPs lose their mandate ? Yes (a) Loss of mandate by judicial decision:
- Loss of eligibility: guilty verdict of a court (Art. 64 (2) No. 2 in connection with Art. 58 and 60 (2) of the Constitution)
- Sentence of the National Court declaring an MP permanently incapable of fulfilling his duties (Art. 64 (2) No. 4 of the Constitu-tion)
(b) Loss of mandate for incompatibilities (Art. 64 (2) No. 1 in con-nection with Art. 63 (1) of the Constitution)
(c) Death (Art. 64 (2) No. 5 of the Constitution)
(d) Loss of mandate for refusal to take the oath of conscience or for confirmation of untrue information by the oath (Art. 6 (2) and 7 (1) of the Law on the Application of the Constitution)
Rank in hierarchy · Within Parliament:
1. The President
2. The two Vice-Presidents
3. The Chairmen of the committees
4. The Deputy Chairmen of the committees
5. The Chairmen of the factions
6. The Deputy Chairmen of the factions
· Outside Parliament: the official order of precedence ranks the President in the 2nd position.
Indemnities, facilities and services · Diplomatic passport (at this moment, approximately one third hold diplomatic passports)
Basic salary (see Art. 75 of the Constitution): approx. US$ 1,050 per month (MP), approx. US$ 1,570 per month (President) + Al-lowance for representation expenses: 20% of the basic salary
· Total exemption from tax
· Pension scheme (Law on Remuneration, Pension and other Social Guarantees for Members of Riigikogu)
· Other facilities:
(a) Secretariat, assistants for the factions
(b) Official housing if residence outside of Tallinn
(c) Postal and telephone services
(d) Travel and transport
(e) Others: National Library (Law on the National Library of Estonia)
Obligation to declare personal assets Yes
Parliamentary immunity - parliamentary non-accountability · The concept does exist (Art. 62 of the Constitution).
· Parliamentary non-accountability is limited to words spoken or written by MPs and votes cast within Parliament.
· Derogations: slander and libel
· Non-accountability takes effect on the day when the mandate begins and offers, after the expiry of the mandate, protection against prosecution for opinions expressed during the exercise of the mandate.
Parliamentary immunity - parliamentary inviolability · The concept does exist (Art. 76 of the Constitution).
· It applies only to criminal proceedings, covers all offences with the exception of minor offences which do not involve criminal proceedings, and protects MPs only from the opening of judicial proceedings.
· No derogations are foreseen.
· Parliamentary inviolability does not prevent MPs from being called as witnesses before a judge or tribunal.
· Protection is provided from the start to the end of the mandate. It does not cover judicial proceedings instituted against MPs before their election.
· Parliamentary immunity (inviolability) can be lifted (Art. 76 of the Constitution):
- Competent authority: the Riigikogu
- Procedure (Art. 76 and 139 (3) of the Constitution). In this case, MPs cannot be heard. They do not have means of appeal.
· Parliament cannot subject the prosecution and/or detention to certain conditions.
· Parliament cannot suspend the prosecution and/or detention of one of its members.
· In the event of preventive custody or imprisonment, the MPs concerned cannot be authorised to attend sittings of Parliament.
Training · There is a training/initiation process on parliamentary practices and procedures for MPs.
· It is provided by the Chancellery of Parliament.
· Handbook of parliamentary procedure:
- Special Collection of Legal Acts
Participation in the work of the Parliament · It is compulsory for MPs to be present at plenary sittings, committee meetings and other meetings.
· Penalties foreseen in case of failure to fulfil this obligation: no sanction, apart from publication of participation in the press
Discipline · Specific cases : MPs cannot be accused of offending or insulting Parliament.
Code (rules) of conduct · This concept does not exist in the country's juridical system but there are some relevant provisions (Art. 64 (2) No. 1 in connection with Art. 63 (1) of the Constitution, Art. 6 (2) and 7 (1) of the Law on the Application of the Constitution). For the declaration of interests, see Obligation to declare personal assets.
· Penalties foreseen for violation of the rules of conduct (Art. 64 (2) No. 1 in connection with Art. 63 (1) of the Constitution, Art. 6 (2) and 7 (1) of the Law on the Application of the Constitution): loss of mandate (incompatibilities, refusal to take the oath of conscience or confirmation of untrue information by the oath)
Relations between MPs and pressure group · There are no legal provisions in this field.

This page was last updated on 23 March 2018
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