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World > Europe > Estonia > Government and Political Conditions (Notes)

Estonia - Government and Political Conditions (Notes)


GOVERNMENT
Estonia is a parliamentary democracy, with a 101-member parliament (the Riigikogu) and a president who is elected indirectly by parliament or, if no candidate wins a two-thirds majority in parliament, by an electoral college composed of members of parliament and of local government representatives. Estonia holds presidential elections every five years. The last presidential election was in 2006. The President serves a maximum of two terms. The President is also the Supreme Commander of the National Defense of Estonia.

Parliamentary elections take place every four years; members are elected by proportional representation. The most recent elections took place on March 4, 2007. A party must gather at least 5% of the votes to take a seat in Parliament. Citizens 18 years of age or older may vote in parliamentary elections and be members of political parties. In addition, resident non-citizens and those who have lived permanently in the area for at least 5 years preceding the election may vote in local elections, although they may not run for office.

After parliamentary elections, the President traditionally asks the party with the most votes to form a new government. The President chooses the Prime Minister--usually the leader of the largest party or coalition in the Parliament--with the consent of the parliament to supervise the work of the government. The Estonian government has a total of 14 ministers.

At the local level, Estonians elect government councils by proportional representation. The individual councils vary in size, but election laws stipulate minimum size requirements depending on the population of the municipality.

Estonia's Supreme Court, the Riigikohus, has 19 justices, all of whom receive lifetime tenure appointments. The parliament appoints the Chief Justice on nomination by the President.

Estonians may vote via the Internet in local and parliamentary elections.


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions - Estonian Kroon Exchange Rates
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Historical Highlights - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions
Estonian Kroon Exchange Rates


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Historical Highlights
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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