The Estonian Government
22 January 2013
The current Estonian Government is a majority government and the coalition consists of two political parties: the Reform Party (R) and Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (PPRP).
The current Government was formed after the regular parliamentary elections on 6 March 2011. President Toomas Hendrik Ilves nominated Mr Andrus Ansip, chairman of the Reform Party (which had won the elections), to be the prime minister. Mr Ansip then formed the coalition government. The Reform Party (R) has seven and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (PPRP) has six ministers in the Government.
|Prime Minister||Mr Andrus Ansip||R|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs||Mr Urmas Paet||R|
|Minister of Defence||Mr Urmas Reinsalu
|Minister of Internal Affairs||Mr Ken-Marti Vaher||PPRP|
|Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications||Mr Juhan Parts||PPRP|
|Minister of Finance||Mr Jürgen Ligi||R|
|Minister of Social Affairs||Mr Taavi Rõivas
|Minister of Justice||Mr Hanno Pevkur
|Minister of Education and Research||Mr Jaak Aaviksoo||PPRP|
|Minister of Environment||Ms Keit Pentus||R|
|Minister of Culture||Mr Rein Lang||R|
|Minister of Agriculture||Mr Helir-Valdor Seeder||PPRP|
|Minister of Regional Affairs||Mr Siim-Valmar Kiisler||PPRP|
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.