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The Estonian Government

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16 July 2015

The current Estonian Government is a majority government and the coalition consists of three political parties: the Reform Party (RP), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL).

The current Government was formed following the parliamentary elections on March 1, 2015. President Toomas Hendrik Ilves nominated Mr Taavi Rõivas, of the Reform Party, to be Prime Minister. Mr Rõivas then formed the coalition government. The Reform Party (R) has six ministers, the Social Democratic Party has four ministers and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union has four ministers in the Government. One minister is not affiliated with any political party.

Prime Minister Mr Taavi Rõivas
RP
Minister of Foreign Affairs Ms Marina Kaljurand
 
Minister of Defence Mr Sven Mikser
SDP
Minister of the Interior
Mr Hanno Pevkur
RP
Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure
Mr Kristen Michal
RP
Minister of Finance Mr Sven Sester
IRL
Minister of Social Protection
Mr Margus Tsahkna
IRL
Minister of Justice Mr Urmas Reinsalu
IRL
Minister of Education and Research Mr Jürgen Ligi
RP
Minister of the Environment Mr Marko Pomerants
IRL
Minister of Culture Mr Indrek Saar
SDP
Minister of Rural Affairs
Mr Urmas Kruuse
RP
Minister of Health and Labour
Mr Rannar Vassiljev
SDP
Minister of Entrepreneurship Ms Urve Palo
SDP
Minister of Public Governance Mr. Arto Aas RP

Explanation:

The executive power of the state – the Government – is accountable to the Riigikogu (Parliament). Appointment to the office of the Prime Minister and withdrawal of the Government lies within the competence of the Parliament. The Government also enjoys a stabilising guarantee – the right to dismiss the Riigikogu with the consent of the President and call new elections if the Riigikogu expresses no confidence in the Government.

The Government (cabinet) consists of the Prime Minister and Ministers.

The Constitution defines the areas of responsibility of the Government as the following:

  • implementation of domestic and foreign policies;
  • direction and co-ordination of the work of government institutions;
  • organisation and implementation legislation, the resolutions of the Riigikogu and edicts of the President;
  • submitting of bills and international treaties to the Riigikogu;
  • preparation of drafts of the state budget;
  • implementation of, and reporting on, the budget;
  • management of relations with foreign states.

How the government is appointed

The President nominates the Prime Minister who then forms a Government. If the President's candidate(s) fail(s) to form a Government (the Constitution permits the President two nominations), the Riigikogu will name a Prime Minister to form a government.

The Prime Minister alone nominates the ministers, who are formally appointed by the President and swear an oath before the Riigikogu.

Government members do not need to be members of the Riigikogu or have any political party affiliation. However, the selection of the Prime Minister, the formation of a working Government, and the success of a legislative programme depend on co-operation with Parliament.

A Government can resign due to any of three reasons: the death or resignation of the Prime Minister, a vote of no-confidence in the Government by the Riigikogu, or the election of a new parliament.

After the re-establishment of independence, national elections have been held on September 20, 1992; March 5, 1995; March 7, 1999; March 2, 2003; March 4, 2007; March 6, 2011 and March 1, 2015.