About Estonia » Country » Government

The Estonian Government

  • PDF

02 Dec 2014

The current Estonian Government is a majority government and the coalition consists of two political parties:
the Reform Party (RP) and Social Democratic Party (SDP).

The current Government was formed after the resignation of Prime Minister Andrus Ansip on 26 March 2014. President Toomas Hendrik Ilves nominated Mr Taavi Rõivas, of the Reform Party, to be the prime minister. Mr Rõivas then formed the coalition government. The Reform Party (R) has eight and the Social Democratic Party has six ministers in the Government. While the number of ministries remains the same, the posts of the minister of economic affairs and the minister of social affairs will be split in two.

Prime Minister Mr Taavi Rõivas
RP
Minister of Foreign Affairs Ms Keit Pentus-Rosimannus
RP
Minister of Defence Mr Sven Mikser
SDP
Minister of Internal and Regional Affairs Mr Hanno Pevkur
RP
Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Ms Urve Palo
SDP
Minister of Finance Mr Jürgen Ligi RP
Minister for Social Welfare
Ms Helmen Kütt
SDP
Minister of Justice Mr Andres Anvelt
SDP
Minister of Education and Research Mr Jevgeni Ossinovski
SDP
Minister of Environment Ms Keit Pentus-Rosimannus RP
Minister of Culture Ms Urve Tiidus
RP
Minister of Agriculture Mr Ivari Padar
SDP
Minister (responsible for health and employment)
Mr Urmas Kruuse
RP
Minister (responsible for foreign trade and entrepreneurship) Ms Anne Sulling 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 20 September 1992, 5 March 1995, 7 March 1999, 2 March 2003, 4 March 2007, and on 6 March 2011. The next regular elections will take place in 2015.