The President of the Republic of Estonia (Estonian: Eesti Vabariigi President) is the head of state of the Republic of Estonia. The current President is Kersti Kaljulaid, elected by Parliament on 3 October 2016, becoming the first woman and youngest person ever who holds the position.
Estonia is a parliamentary republic in which the President is a ceremonial figurehead with no executive power. The President is obliged to suspend their membership in any political party for the term in office. Upon assuming office, the authority and duties of the President in all other elected or appointed offices terminate automatically. These measures should theoretically help the President to function in a more independent and impartial manner.
The President is elected by the Riigikogu or a special electoral body for a five-year term. The electoral body is convened in case no candidate secures a two-thirds supermajority in the Riigikogu after three rounds of balloting. The electoral body, which consists of all members of the Riigikogu and elected representatives of all local self-governments (at least one representative per each municipality, but not more than 10 representatives depending on the number of citizens with voting rights residing in the municipality), elects the president, choosing between the two candidates with the largest percentage of votes.
The President holds office for five years. They can be reelected any number of times, but not more than twice consecutively.
|President of the Republic of Estonia
Eesti Vabariigi President
The Flag of the President
since 10 October 2016
|Residence||Presidential Palace (et)|
|Term length||Five years|
renewable once, consecutively
|Inaugural holder||Konstantin Päts|
24 April 1938
|Formation||Constitution of Estonia|
The authors of the first Estonian constitution, with memories of the Russian emperors' abuses of power, tried to avoid concentrating too much power in one person's hands by all means possible. This eventually led to a creation of an ultra-parliamentary system. The power of the Parliament (Riigikogu) was practically unlimited. Until 1934, the nominal head of state was the State Elder, (riigivanem), who also served as de jure chairman of the cabinet—officially known as "the Government." However, he could not play a balancing role in the event of conflict between the Parliament and the Government. The State Elder and the Government were completely dependent on the Parliament and could be sacked by it at any time. The functions that are usually vested on a president in parliamentary systems were divided among the speaker of the Riigikogu, the State Elder and the Government.
Estonia's constitution was amended in 1933, instituting a strongly presidential system. The head of state, according to the new constitution, was also called the State Elder. However, it never came into effect as a result of Konstantin Päts's self-coup in 1934. In 1938, another constitution was enacted, and the head of state's title was changed to "President of the Republic." He was given very broad executive power, though he was somewhat less powerful than the State Elder of the 1933 constitution. Konstantin Päts became the first person to bear this title. His term was to last for six years.
Within days after the Soviet occupation of Estonia in 1940, Päts was forced to appoint a Communist-dominated puppet government headed by Johannes Vares, following the arrival of demonstrators accompanied by Red Army troops with armored vehicles to the Presidential palace. The Vares government had actually been chosen by Soviet official Andrei Zhdanov. Following the sham elections in July, Päts was dismissed from office. Later in July Päts, along with his son, daughter-in-law and two grandsons, was deported to Ufa in Russia.
According to the 1938 constitution, if the President was ever incapacitated or was otherwise unable to carry out his functions, his duties were assumed by the Prime Minister under the title "Prime Minister in duties of the President." In accordance with this provision, Vares took over the functions of the president in order to give legal sanction to the formal annexation of Estonia by the Soviet Union in August. However, during times of war or incapacitation lasting longer than six months, the constitution provides for the election of an acting President by the Electoral Council. The Electoral Council met in secret on 20 April 1944, and determined that the appointment of Vares as Prime Minister in 1940 was unlawful according to the 1938 constitution. The Council elected Jüri Uluots as Acting President on 21 April. Uluots appointed Otto Tief as Prime Minister. Tief was subsequently arrested by the re-occupying Soviet forces in September.
In September 1944, Uluots and the surviving members of the Tief government escaped to Sweden. The day before Uluots died in January 1945, a successor, August Rei, was named to assume the position of acting President. Following Rei's death in 1963, the role passed to Aleksander Warma, then to Tõnis Kint in 1971, then to Heinrich Mark in 1990. In October 1992, Mark handed over his credentials to the newly elected President of the restored republic, Lennart Meri.
After Estonia regained independence, a new constitution was adopted that was based on a mixture of the 1920 and 1938 documents. During the drafting of the new constitution, it was initially planned to use the older, more traditional title, State Elder, for the head of state. However, the more modern term president was eventually chosen after public consultations. Five presidential elections have taken place (in 1992, 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011). In the first four elections parliament failed to choose the President and the election passed to the electoral assembly. Lennart Meri was elected in 1992 (this election, unlike later ones, had a public round) and re-elected in 1996, defeating Arnold Rüütel both times. Rüütel himself became the next President in 2001. In 2006, Toomas Hendrik Ilves won the election and he was reelected by the parliament in 2011. Kersti Kaljulaid was elected President in 2016.
The President of the Republic of Estonia:
Unlike his or her counterparts in other parliamentary republics, the President is not even the nominal chief executive. Rather, the Constitution explicitly vests executive power in the Government.
|#||Portrait||Name||Took Office||Left Office||Party||Birth and Death|
|1||Konstantin Päts||24 April 1938||23 July 1940||Patriotic League||b. 23 February 1874, Tahkuranna|
d. 18 January 1956, Burashevo, Kalinin Oblast, USSR
|1938 – I round – elected by the parliament and municipal appointees as the only candidate with 219 of 238 votes (92.0%).|
|2||Lennart Meri||6 October 1992||8 October 2001||Pro Patria National Coalition||b. 29 March 1929, Tallinn|
d. 14 March 2006, Tallinn
|1992 – II round – elected by the parliament with 59 of 101 votes (58.4%).|
1996 – V round – elected by the parliament and municipal appointees with 196 of 372 votes (52.7%).
|3||Arnold Rüütel||8 October 2001||9 October 2006||People's Union of Estonia||b. 10 May 1928, Laimjala Parish, Saare County|
|2001 – V round – elected by the parliament and municipal appointees with 186 of 366 votes (50.8%).|
|4||Toomas Hendrik Ilves||9 October 2006||10 October 2016||Social Democratic Party||b. 26 December 1953, Stockholm, Sweden|
|2006 – IV round – elected by the parliament and municipal appointees with 174 of 345 votes (50.4%).|
2011 – I round – elected by the parliament with 73 of 101 votes (72.3%).
|5||Kersti Kaljulaid||10 October 2016||Incumbent||Independent||b. 30 December 1969, Tartu|
|2016 – VI round – elected by the parliament with 81 of 98 votes (80%).|
There are two living former Estonian presidents:
The European Parliament election of 2004 in Estonia was the election of MEP representing Estonia constituency for the 2004-2009 term of the European Parliament. It was part of the wider 2004 European election. The vote took place on June 13.
The election was conducted using the D'Hondt method with open list. The voter turnout in Estonia was one of the lowest of all member countries at only 26.8%. A similar trend was visible in most of the new member states that joined the EU in 2004.
The biggest winner was the Social Democratic Party, due to the popularity of their leading candidate Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who received the vast majority of the party's votes. The governing Res Publica Party and People's Union polled poorly. Ilves went on to become President of Estonia in October 2006, leaving his MEP seat to Katrin Saks.2006 Estonian presidential election
Estonian presidential elections, 2006 took place over four rounds, which were held on 28 and 29 August, and 23 September 2006. The first three rounds of the presidential election were held within the Riigikogu, which is Estonia's Parliament, as specified under electoral law. The two top candidates, Ene Ergma and Toomas Hendrik Ilves, were not elected because they did not obtain the required two-thirds of the votes in the Riigikogu.
As the Riigikogu was unable to make a decision within the first three rounds, it was required under Estonian electoral law to convene an Electoral Body to decide the presidency. It was convened on 23 September, and Toomas Hendrik Ilves emerged as the winner over the other candidate and incumbent president, Arnold Rüüte, after obtaining a majority of the votes in the Electoral Body.2016 Estonian presidential election
An indirect election took place in Estonia in 2016 to elect the president of Estonia, who is the country's head of state. The Riigikogu — the Parliament of Estonia — elected Kersti Kaljulaid to be the next head of state of Estonia to succeed Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who had served his second and final term as president. (Ilves was term-limited.) Kaljulaid is the first female head of state of Estonia.
Somewhat unusually, Kaljulaid was elected president only after other candidates could not be elected in three rounds of parliamentary voting and two rounds of voting by an electoral college consisting of members of Parliament and representatives of local governments of Estonia.Anti-Estonian sentiment
Anti-Estonian sentiment generally describes dislike or hate of the Estonian people or the Republic of Estonia. Its opposite is Estophilia.Arnold Rüütel
Arnold Rüütel OIH (Estonian pronunciation: [ˈɑrnold ˈryːtel]) (born 10 May 1928) served as the last Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR from April 8, 1983, to March 29, 1990, Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR (from May 8, 1990: Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia) from March 29, 1990, to October 6, 1992, and was the third President of Estonia from October 8, 2001, to October 9, 2006. He was the second President since Estonia regained independence in 1991. Rüütel also served as one of fifteen Deputy Chairmen of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.Estonian International Commission for Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity
The Estonian International Commission for Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity (also known as the History Commission or Max Jakobson Commission) was the commission established by President of Estonia Lennart Meri in October 1998 to investigate crimes against humanity committed in Estonia or against its citizens during the Soviet and German occupation, such as Soviet deportations from Estonia and the Holocaust in Estonia.
It held its first session in Tallinn in January 1999. To promote independent inquiry and avoid conflict of interest, there were no Estonian citizens among its members. Finnish diplomat Max Jakobson was appointed chairman of the commission.
Research of the Commission has been relied on by the European Court of Human Rights, for example in its decision to not grant certiorari to review a complaint by August Kolk and Pyotr Kislyy, who had been convicted of crimes against humanity due to their roles in the Soviet deportations from Estonia.The Commission fulfilled its purpose by 2007 and was succeeded by the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory.Estonia–Greece relations
Estonian-Greek relations are the relations between the Republic of Estonia and the Hellenic Republic. Greece recognised Estonia on May 19, 1922. Greece never recognised the Soviet annexation of Estonia. Both countries re-established diplomatic relations on October 2, 1991. In April 1997, Estonia has established an embassy in Athens. The Greek embassy in Tallinn opened in January 2005. Estonia has also 3 honorary consulates in Patras, Piraeus and Thessaloniki.
Both countries are full members of NATO and the European Union.Estonia–Sweden relations
Estonia–Sweden relations are foreign relations between Estonia and Sweden. Estonia was wholly or partially under Swedish rule between 1561 and 1721.
In 1944, Sweden became one of the first among the few countries to recognize the Soviet occupation of the Baltic countries. In 1945, Stockholm extradited to the Soviet Union around 170 Waffen SS-soldiers from the Baltic countries who had fled the Red Army and found refuge in Sweden. On 15 August 2011, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt officially apologized to the prime ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in a ceremony in Stockholm saying that "Sweden owes its Baltic neighbours a "debt of honour" for turning a blind eye to post-war Soviet occupation" and speaking of "a dark moment" in his country's history. Sweden re-recognized Estonia on 27 August 1991.
Estonia has an embassy in Stockholm and 5 honorary consulates (in Eskilstuna, Gothenburg, Karlskrona, Malmö and Visby). Sweden has an embassy in Tallinn and 2 honorary consulates (in Narva and Tartu).
Both countries are full members of the Council of the Baltic Sea States and of the European Union.George Howard, 13th Earl of Carlisle
George William Beaumont Howard, 13th Earl of Carlisle (born 15 February 1949), styled Viscount Morpeth from 1963 to 1994, is a British nobleman, politician, and hereditary peer. He inherited the titles Earl of Carlisle, Viscount Howard of Morpeth, Baron Dacre of Gillesland (in the Peerage of England) and Lord Ruthven of Freeland (in the Peerage of Scotland), in 1994 upon the death of his father, Charles Howard, 12th Earl of Carlisle. A member of the Howard family and a kinsman of the Duke of Norfolk, he is also a co-heir to the baronies of Greystock and Clifford.Educated at Eton College and Balliol College, Oxford, he served as an officer in the British Army with the 9th/12th Royal Lancers, retiring with the rank of Major.
As Viscount Morpeth, he unsuccessfully contested Easington in the 1987 general election and Leeds West in the 1992 general election as well as Northumbria in the 1989 European elections for the Liberal Democrats.
Having lost his automatic right to a seat in the House of Lords under the House of Lords Act, 1999 Lord Carlisle has stood as a Liberal Democrat in By elections to the House of Lords; his best performance was finishing a distant second to Labour's Viscount Hanworth in the 2011 by-election to replace Lord Strabolgi.Lord Carlisle is an academic and commentator on Baltic States matters, having lived for some time in Tartu, Estonia. The President of Estonia has appointed him a Knight 1st Class of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana. He played an important role in securing memorial plaques to the 112 British servicemen killed in the 1919 operation which ensured the independence of the Baltic States. These plaques have been set up in numerous places, notably at Portsmouth Cathedral by the then First Sea Lord, Admiral Lord West of Spithead in 2005, and by HM The Queen during her visit to Tallinn in 2010.
The 13th Earl's heir presumptive, to his titles, is his brother, The Hon Philip Charles Wentworth Howard.Kadriorg
Kadriorg (Estonian for "Catherine's Valley") is a subdistrict (Estonian: asum) in the district of Kesklinn (Midtown), Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. It has a population of 4,561 (As of 1 January 2015). The subdistrict name derives from the Catherinethal, a Baroque palace of Catherine I of Russia. It is one of the wealthiest regions in Estonia. Kadriorg is known for the Kadriorg palace and the surrounding park, commissioned by the Russian Czar Peter the Great. Nowadays the park is a location of several museums including the Kadriorg art Museum (in Kadriorg palace), KUMU, Mikkel, Peter the Great and Eduard Vilde museums. Nearby is the Russalka Memorial which commemorates the loss of a Russian warship in 1893.
The official Presidential Palace of the President of Estonia is situated next to Kadriorg Palace in the park.Kersti Kaljulaid
Kersti Kaljulaid (Estonian pronunciation: [ˈkersti ˈkɑljulɑid̥]; born 30 December 1969) is an Estonian politician who is the fifth and current President of Estonia, in office since 10 October 2016. She is the first female head of state of Estonia since the country declared independence in 1918, as well as the youngest ever President, age 46 at the time of her election.Kaljulaid is a former state official, serving as Estonia's representative in the European Court of Auditors from 2004 until 2016. After several unsuccessful rounds of Estonian presidential elections in 2016, Kaljulaid was brought in as a "dark horse", and on 30 September 2016 she was nominated by the majority of parliamentary parties as a joint candidate for President of Estonia, as the only official candidate for that round. Kaljulaid was voted President of Estonia on 3 October 2016, with 81 votes and 17 abstentions.Law of Estonia
According to the Constitution of Estonia (Estonian: Põhiseadus), the supreme power of the state is vested in the people. The people exercise their supreme power of the state on the elections of the Riigikogu through citizens who have the right to vote. The supreme judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court or Riigikohus, with 17 justices. The Chief Justice is appointed by the parliament for nine years on nomination by the president.
The official Head of State is the President of Estonia, who gives assent to the laws passed by Riigikogu, also having the right of sending them back and proposing new laws. The president, however, does not use these rights very often, having a largely ceremonial role. He or she is elected by Riigikogu, with two-thirds of the votes required. If the candidate does not gain the number of votes required, the right to elect the president goes over to an electoral body, consisting of the 101 members of Riigikogu and representatives from local councils. As other spheres, Estonian law-making has been successfully integrated with the Information Age.Lennart Meri
Lennart Georg Meri (Estonian pronunciation: [ˈlenˑɑrt ˈgeorg ˈmeri]; 29 March 1929 – 14 March 2006) was an Estonian statesman, writer, and film director. He served as the second President of Estonia from 1992 to 2001. Meri was among the leaders of the movement to restore Estonian independence from the Soviet Union.Marko Reikop
Marko Reikop (born June 19, 1969, in Tallinn) is an Estonian TV host.
He graduated from the Tallinn University on bibliography and is employed by radio and TV channels of the Estonian Public Broadcasting since 1991.
He has presented the Estonian national finals for Eurovision Song Contest and made a live commentary for the event. From 2009 and on he presents the daily talk show "Ringvaade" together with Anu Välba (along with Grete Lõbu since fall of 2013).
In 2018 he was given Fifth Class of the Order of the White Star by the President of Estonia.Spouse of the President of Estonia
The First Lady of Estonia or First Gentleman of Estonia is the unofficial title given to the wife or husband of the President of Estonia. Estonia's current First Gentleman is Georgi-Rene Maksimovski, husband of President Kersti Kaljulaid.Supreme Court of Estonia
The Supreme Court of Estonia (Estonian: Riigikohus) is the court of last resort in Estonia. It is both a court of cassation and a constitutional court. The courthouse is in Tartu.Tahkuranna
Tahkuranna is a village in Häädemeeste Parish, Pärnu County in southwestern Estonia. It is the birthplace of Konstantin Päts, the first president of Estonia. Tiit Helmja, an Olympic rower, was also born in Tahkuranna.Tiigrihüpe
Tiigrihüpe (Estonian for Tiger Leap) was a project undertaken by Republic of Estonia to heavily invest in development and expansion of computer and network infrastructure in Estonia, with a particular emphasis on education. The project was first proposed in 1996 by Toomas Hendrik Ilves, then ambassador of Estonia to United States and later President of Estonia, and Jaak Aaviksoo, then minister of Education. The project was announced by Lennart Meri, the President of Estonia, on 21 February 1996. Funds for the foundation of Tiigrihüpe were first allocated in national budget of 1997.
An important primary effect of the project was rollout of Internet access to all Estonian schools, which effectively ended UUCP usage in Estonia, combined with installing computer labs in most schools, and replacing those that already existed with IBM PC based parks. Due to an economic and technological lag effected on Estonia by the Soviet occupation, CP/M-based 8-bit computer systems were not yet a rare sight in Estonian schools in the middle of the 1990s.
After the cyberattacks on Estonia in 2007, Estonia combined network defence with its common military doctrine. Success of the process led to NATO creating the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn. This project has been nicknamed Tiger Defence (Estonian: Tiigrikaitse) by analogy with Tiigrihüpe.Toomas Hendrik Ilves
Toomas Hendrik Ilves (Estonian pronunciation: [ˈtoːmɑs ˈhendrik ˈilves]; born 26 December 1953) is an Estonian politician who served as the fourth President of Estonia from 2006 until 2016. Ilves worked as a diplomat and journalist, and he was the leader of the Social Democratic Party in the 1990s. He served in the government as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1996 to 1998 and again from 1999 to 2002. Later, he was a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2006. He was elected as President of Estonia by an electoral college on 23 September 2006 and his term as President began on 9 October 2006. He was reelected by Parliament in 2011.
Heads of state and government of Europe