Prime Minister of Estonia

The Prime Minister of Estonia (Estonian: peaminister, literally Main Minister or Head Minister) is the head of government of the Republic of Estonia. The prime minister is nominated by the President after appropriate consultations with the parliamentary factions and confirmed by the Parliament. In case of disagreement, the Parliament can reject the President's nomination and choose their own candidate. In practice, since the Prime Minister must maintain the confidence of Parliament in order to remain in office, he is usually the leader of the senior partner in the governing coalition. The current Prime Minister is Jüri Ratas of the Centre Party.

In his role as appointed by the President and laid forth in the Constitution, the Prime Minister serves as the head of government. He does not head any specific ministry, but is, in accordance with the constitution, the supervisor of the work of the government. The Prime Minister’s significance and role in the government and his relations with other ministries often depend on the position of the party led by the prime minister in vis-à-vis the coalition partners, and on how much influence the prime minister possesses within his own party. If the prime minister has a strong position within his party, and the government is made up solely of representatives of that party, he can enjoy considerable authority. In all crucial national questions, however, the final word rests with Riigikogu as the legislative power.

Unlike his counterparts in other parliamentary republics, the Prime Minister is both de jure and de facto chief executive. This is because the Constitution explicitly vests executive power in the Government, of which the Prime Minister is the leader. In most other parliamentary republics, the president is at least nominal chief executive, while bound by convention to act on the cabinet's advice.

Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia
Eesti Vabariigi peaminister
Coat of arms of Estonia
KE Jüri Ratas
Jüri Ratas

since 23 November 2016
Member ofEuropean Council
ResidenceStenbock House, Tallinn
AppointerPresident of Estonia
Term lengthGeneral elections to the Riigikogu are held every four years at most. The Prime Minister is by convention the leader of the victorious party. No term limits are imposed on the office.
Inaugural holderKonstantin Päts
Formation24 February 1918


Estonia was governed by a Prime Minister during the first two years (1918–1920) of its independence after the collapse of the Russian Empire.

Under Estonia's 1920 constitution, the head of government was called the State Elder (riigivanem), who was also head of state. This system was a radically parliamentary system because the State Elder could be dismissed by the Parliament with a simple majority. Moreover, the State Elder was not the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, nor could he ratify laws or dissolve Parliament. The dissolution of Parliament was only possible through a referendum (see, for example, Seppo Zetterberg, "A History of Estonia" / Viron historia. 3rd edition. Helsinki: The Finnish Literary Society / Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2007, pages 524–525). Under a new constitution passed by plebiscite in 1933, the position of Prime Minister was recreated as head of government in 1934 in a more presidential system. Under this constitution, the President could appoint and dismiss the Prime Minister and Cabinet, veto laws, give decrees (statutes) and dissolve Parliament (see Zetterberg 2007, pages 558–559). The sitting State Elder, Konstantin Päts, appointed himself to the position of Prime Minister and in this position was then able to suspend elections for Elder of State and for the Estonian Parliament. He remained Prime Minister, declaring himself "President-Regent", until 1938, when elections were held under a new constitution and he was elected President.


Portrait Name Term of Office Political Party Cabinet Riigikogu
Head of State
Took Office Left Office Days
The executive order of the Provisional Government and the Council of Elders of the Provincial Assembly replaced the office of Chairman of the Council of Ministers.
Konstantin Päts Konstantin Päts
Prime Minister
of the Provisional Government
12 November 1918 9 May 1919 179 Country People's Union
Päts I Provisional
Päts III Provisional
Otto August Strandman
1st Prime Minister
9 May 1919 18 November 1919 194 Labour Party
Strandman I
Jaan Tonisson1928 Jaan Tõnisson
2nd Prime Minister
18 November 1919 28 July 1920 254 People's Party
Tõnisson I
Ado Birk Ado Birk
3rd Prime Minister
28 July 1920 30 July 1920 3 People's Party
Jaan Tonisson1928 Jaan Tõnisson
4th Prime Minister
(2nd term)
30 July 1920 26 October 1920 89 People's Party
Tõnisson II
Ants Piip, 1923 Ants Piip
5th Prime Minister
26 October 1920 20 December 1920 56 Labour Party
The 1920 Constitution replaced the office with State Elder.


Portrait Name Term of Office Political Party Cabinet Riigikogu
Head of State
Took Office Left Office Days
The 1934 Constitution divided the office of State Elder between a new office called State Elder and a Prime Minister.
Konstantin Päts Konstantin Päts
6th Prime Minister
(in duties of the State Elder)
(2nd term)
24 January 1934 3 September 1937 1,319 Farmers' Assemblies and
Association of Settlers
Päts V
non-party coalition
Prime Minister
in duties of
the State Elder

Fatherland Union

[Note 1]

[Note 2]
The Amendment Act of the 1938 Constitution temporarily merged the offices of State Elder and Prime Minister into President-Regent.


Portrait Name Term of Office Political Party Cabinet Riigikogu
Head of State
Took Office Left Office Days
The 1938 Constitution divided the office of President-Regent between a President and a Prime Minister.
Kaarel Eenpalu Kaarel Eenpalu
Acting Prime Minister
24 April 1938 9 May 1938 537 Fatherland Union
Päts V
non-party coalition
[Note 3]

7th Prime Minister 9 May 1938 12 October 1939 Eenpalu II
non-party coalition
Jüri Uluots Jüri Uluots
8th Prime Minister
12 October 1939 21 June 1940 254 Fatherland Union
non-party coalition
1st Soviet Occupation
German Occupation
Otto Tief Otto Tief
Acting Prime Minister
18 September 1944 25 September 1944 8 None Tief
non-party coalition
Prime Minister
in duties of
the President

Jüri Uluots
2nd Soviet Occupation
(See Estonian Government in Exile)


Portrait Name Term of Office Political Party Cabinet Riigikogu
Head of State
Took Office Left Office Days
2nd Soviet Occupation
(See Estonian Government in Exile)
Edgar Savisaar 2005-crop Edgar Savisaar
(1950– )
1st Prime Minister of the Interim Government
3 April 1990
[Note 4]
29 January 1992 668 Popular Front
Savisaar Interim
various coalition partners

[Note 5]
Chairman of the
Supreme Council

Arnold Rüütel
Tiit Vähi teisel Arvamusfestivalil Narvas Tiit Vähi
(1947– )
2nd Prime Minister of the Interim Government
29 January 1992 21 October 1992 266 None Vähi Interim
various coalition partners
Mart Laar Mart Laar
(1960– )
9th Prime Minister
21 October 1992 8 November 1994 749 Fatherland
Laar I
Lennart Georg Meri
Andres Tarand 12.4.2012 Andres Tarand
(1940– )
10th Prime Minister
8 November 1994 17 April 1995 161 Moderates
Tiit Vähi teisel Arvamusfestivalil Narvas Tiit Vähi
(1947– )
11th Prime Minister
(2nd term)
17 April 1995 17 March 1997 701 Coalition Party's and
Country People's Alliance

Vähi I
Vähi II
Siimann Mart.IMG 2960 Mart Siimann
(1946– )
12th Prime Minister
17 March 1997 25 March 1999 739 Coalition Party's and
Country People's Alliance

Mart Laar Mart Laar
(1960– )
13th Prime Minister
(2nd term)
25 March 1999 28 January 2002 1,041 Pro Patria Union
Laar II
Arnold Rüütel
Kallas Siim.IMG 3350 Siim Kallas
(1948– )
14th Prime Minister
28 January 2002 10 April 2003 438 Reform Party
Juhan-Parts Juhan Parts
(1966– )
15th Prime Minister
10 April 2003 12 April 2005 735 Res Publica Party
Portrait Andrus Ansip Andrus Ansip
(1956– )
16th Prime Minister
12 April 2005 26 March 2014 3,271 Reform Party
Ansip I
Toomas Hendrik Ilves
Ansip II
Ansip III
RE Taavi Rõivas Taavi Rõivas
(1979– )
17th Prime Minister
26 March 2014 23 November 2016 973 Reform Party
Rõivas I
Rõivas II
Kersti Kaljulaid
KE Jüri Ratas Jüri Ratas
(1978– )
18th Prime Minister
23 November 2016 Incumbent 879 Centre Party


  1. ^ All political parties were banned on 20 March 1935. The Fatherland Union was the only sanctioned political organization, but cannot be considered a political party per se.
  2. ^ The "Era of Silence" began on with Päts' self-coup on 21 March 1934. The Riigikogu approved of the coup retroactively on 15 March 1934. The Riigikogu was thereafter not convened after 2 October 1934. It was officially disbanded on 1 October 1938.
  3. ^ Although Konstantin Päts resigned as President-Regent on 24 April 1938 to become the President on the same day, his cabinet remained temporarily in office until 9 May 1938, headed by acting Prime Minister Kaarel Eenpalu.
  4. ^ The Supreme Council of the Estonian SSR on 30 March 1990 declared Soviet rule to have been illegal since 1940 and declared a transition period for full independence. Full independence was restored on 20 August 1991.
  5. ^ Elections were for the "Supreme Soviet", but the translation of the assembly name was changed before the Interim Government was sworn in, on 29 March 1990.

See also

2014 in Estonia

The following lists events that happened during 2014 in the Republic of Estonia.

Andres Tarand

Andres Tarand (born 11 January 1940) is an Estonian politician who served as the Prime Minister of Estonia from 1994 to 1995. He was also a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Social Democratic Party, part of the Party of European Socialists, between 2004 and 2009.

Born in Tallinn, Tarand graduated from the University of Tartu with a degree in climatology in 1963. After receiving his first degree he continued his studies at Tartu receiving a second degree in geography in 1973. He continued to do research at Tartu, eventually becoming director of research in 1979, to 1981.

Besides serving as director of research at University of Tartu, Tarand has also been a member of the board for the university, since 1996, as well as director of the Tallinn Botanical Gardens, from 1988–1990.

Tarand has also been a member of the Estonian Parliament from 1992 to 2004. While in parliament Tarand served as the Minister for the Environment of Estonia twice, 1992 to 1994 and 1994 to 1995, as well as his term as Prime Minister. He was elected to the European Parliament in June 2004.

Tarand has also been involved in environmental and sustainable development concerns not only in Estonia but throughout the Baltic and Nordic states. His involvement in these concerns has led to his involvement in such organisations as the Estonian Geographical Association, Estonian Institute for Sustainable Development, Stockholm Environment Institute, Estonian Nature Fund, and Globe International Europe. He has published a title ''Tornadoes in Estonia'' with Éditions Universitaires Européennes.Andres Tarand and his wife Mari Tarand have two sons. The elder son Indrek Tarand (born 1964) is a politician, historian and journalist who also won a seat in the European Parliament, running as an independent candidate in the 2009 election. The younger son Kaarel Tarand (born 1966) is a well-known journalist.

Andrus Ansip

Andrus Ansip (Estonian pronunciation: [ˈɑndrus ˈɑnʲˑsʲip]; born 1 October 1956) is an Estonian politician, the current European Commissioner for Digital Single Market and Vice President of the European Commission, in office since 2014. Previously, he was Prime Minister of Estonia from 2005 to 2014 and chairman of the liberal Estonian Reform Party (Estonian: Reformierakond) from 2004 to 2014.

Before his entry into politics Ansip trained as a chemist, before working in banking and business. He entered Parliament in 2004, quickly becoming Minister of Economic Affairs, and subsequently Prime Minister in April 2005. On 1 November 2014, he was appointed to the European Commission.

Andrus Ansip's cabinet

Andrus Ansip is the former Prime Minister of Estonia who formed three consecutive cabinets.

Cross of Liberty (Estonia)

The Cross of Liberty (Estonian: Vabadusrist) was a medal established by then Prime Minister of Estonia, Konstantin Päts, on 24 February 1919 to honor people for their services during the Estonian War of Independence and conferred in three grades, each in three classes. Grade I was for military leadership, Grade II for personal courage, and Grade III for civilian service. Grade and class is attached to the name of recipient in the form of post-nominal letters. The 1st class of II grade was never conferred. Bestowal of the Cross of Liberty was terminated on 19 June 1925.The last surviving recipient of the Cross of Liberty was Karl Jaanus VR II/3, who died on 6 October 2000.

The War of Independence Victory Column in Tallinn, opened in 2009, is modelled after the Cross of Liberty.

Edgar Savisaar

Edgar Savisaar (born 31 May 1950) is an Estonian politician, one of the founding members of Popular Front of Estonia and the Centre Party. He has served as the acting Prime Minister of Estonia, Minister of the Interior, Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications and Mayor of Tallinn.

Enno Penno

Enno Penno (22 April 1930 in Tallinn – 16 November 2016 in Stockholm) was an Estonian politician, who was acting as Acting Prime Minister of Estonia in exile from 1 March 1990 to 20 June 1992.

Estonian government-in-exile

The Estonian government-in-exile was the formally declared governmental authority of the Republic of Estonia in exile, existing from 1944 until the reestablishment of Estonian sovereignty over Estonian territory in 1991–92. It traced its legitimacy through constitutional succession to the last Estonian government in power prior to the Soviet invasion of 1940. During its existence, it was the internationally recognized government of Estonia.

Jaan Tõnisson

Jaan Tõnisson (Estonian pronunciation: [ˈjɑːn ˈtɤnisˑˈson]; 22 December [O.S. 10 December] 1868, near Tänassilma – 1941?, in Tallinn?) was an Estonian statesman, serving as the Prime Minister of Estonia twice during 1919 to 1920, as State Elder (head of state and government) from 1927 to 1928 and in 1933, and as Foreign Minister of Estonia from 1931 to 1932.

Juhan Parts

Juhan Parts (born 27 August 1966) is an Estonian politician who was Prime Minister of Estonia from 2003 to 2005 and Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications from 2007 to 2014. Juhan Parts is a member of the Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica party.

Jüri Ratas

Jüri Ratas (born 2 July 1978) is an Estonian politician who is the current leader of the Centre Party and the Prime Minister of Estonia. He acted as the vice-president of the Riigikogu from 2007 to 2016 and Mayor of Tallinn from 2005 to 2007. As a mayor of Tallinn he initiated the European Green Capital Award programme.In the 2015 Estonian parliamentary election, Ratas was re-elected to the parliament with 7,932 individual votes. In March he was elected as the second deputy speaker of the Riigikogu.On 5 November 2016, Ratas was elected to succeed Edgar Savisaar as the leader of the Centre Party. After Taavi Rõivas' second cabinet split in November 2016 due to internal struggle, coalition talks began between Centre Party, Social Democratic Party, and Pro Patria and Res Publica Union. On 19 November, the three parties agreed on the conditions of the new coalition led by Ratas. Ratas was sworn in as the prime minister of Estonia on 23 November.After 2019 parliamentary election, Ratas turned down an offer from the election-winning Reform Party for coalition and instead entered into talks with Isamaa and EKRE. On 17 April, Riigikogu granted Ratas the authority to form the government and remain Prime Minister.

Kaarel Eenpalu

Kaarel Eenpalu (until 1935 named Karl August Einbund) (28 May [O.S. 16 May] 1888 in Paju talu, Vesneri Parish, Tartu County, Estonia, Russian Empire – 27 January 1942, Kirov Oblast, Russia, USSR) was an Estonian journalist, politician and head of state, who served as 7th Prime Minister of Estonia.

Luisa Rõivas

Luisa Rõivas (née Värk, born 6 February 1987) is an Estonian singer.

Luisa Rõivas was a runner-up of on the first season of Estonian Pop Idol (Eesti otsib superstaari). She was also a runner-up on Tantsud tähtedega, Estonia's version of Dancing with the Stars. Her dancing partner was Martin Parmas.Rõivas participated in the Estonian Eurovision national final Eurolaul 2008 with two songs:"It's Never Too Late" with Estonian band Traffic and "God Inside your Soul" with Margus Vaher. She participated again in the 2015 edition of the Eesti Laul, where she reached the final stage but ended up in last place. In 2016 she was chosen as a jury for the second semifinal of the Eesti LaulRõivas is married to Taavi Rõivas, former Prime Minister of Estonia.Rõivas was born one day before fellow singer Kerli Kõiv, who was also born in Elva.

Mart Laar

Mart Laar (born 22 April 1960) is an Estonian politician and historian. He served as the Prime Minister of Estonia from 1992 to 1994 and from 1999 to 2002. Laar is credited with having helped bring about Estonia’s rapid economic development during the 1990s. He is a member of the Pro Patria party.In April 2011, Mart Laar became Minister of Defence in the cabinet of Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and served until his resignation for reasons of health in May 2012.

In April 2013, Riigikogu appointed Laar as chairman of the supervisory board of the Bank of Estonia, his term beginning on 12 June 2013.

Mart Siimann

Mart Siimann (born 21 September 1946) was the Prime Minister of Estonia from 1997 to 1999, representing the liberal/centrist Estonian Coalition Party. He was the president of the Estonian Olympic Committee from 2001 to 2012.Born at Kilingi-Nõmme, Siimann studied at the University of Tartu from 1965 to 1971. In 1971, he graduated as a philologist-psychologist. From 1989 to 1992, he was the director of the Estonian Television and from 1992 to 1995, Managing Director of Advertising Television Co. He was a member of the Estonian Parliament from 1995 to 1997 and from 1999 to 2003, elected as a Coalition Party member (but since 2001 served as the chairman of the centre-left/social democratic association "Mõistuse ja Südamega" ("With Reason and Heart")).


Mõnnaste is a village in Tarvastu Parish, Viljandi County, Estonia. Mõnnaste is 15 km (9 miles) southeast of the town of Viljandi near the western shore of the lake Võrtsjärv. The population of Mõnnaste was 69 people as of 2011.Mõnnaste is the birthplace of Estonian politician and former Prime Minister of Estonia, Ado Birk (1883-1942) and Estonian poet Eha Lättemäe (1922-2012).

Siim Kallas

Siim Kallas (Estonian pronunciation: [ˈsiːm ˈkɑlˑɑs]; born 2 October 1948) is an Estonian politician, who most recently served as European Commissioner for Transport between 2010 and 2014. Before that he was European Commissioner for Administrative Affairs, Audit and Anti-Fraud between 2004 and 2009. In both Barroso Commissions he was also vice-president.

Kallas has been Prime Minister of Estonia, Estonian Minister of Finance, Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Member of the Supreme Council of the Soviet Union and member of the Riigikogu. Kallas is a member and former leader of the free-market liberal Estonian Reform Party. Kallas was a vice-president of Liberal International.

He was twice appointed Acting Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro in Olli Rehn's stead, from 19 April 2014 – 25 May 2014 while he was on electoral campaign leave for the 2014 elections to the European Parliament and from 1 July 2014 – 16 July 2014 after he took up his seat.After leaving the Commission, Kallas run in the Estonian presidential election in 2016, but was not elected. In October 2017, he started as the municipal mayor of Viimsi Parish.

Taavi Rõivas

Taavi Rõivas (Estonian pronunciation: [ˈtɑːʋi ˈrɤiʋɑs]; born 26 September 1979) is an Estonian politician, former leader of the Reform Party and former Prime Minister of Estonia. Before his term as the Prime Minister, Rõivas was the Minister of Social Affairs from 2012 to 2014. On 9 November 2016 his second cabinet lost a no confidence motion (63 votes to 28) after two parties (Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica and Social Democratic Party) in the ruling coalition sided with the opposition.

Tiit Vähi

Tiit Vähi (born 10 January 1947) is an Estonian politician who was Prime Minister of Estonia from 1995 to 1997. He was also acting Prime Minister for several months during 1992 under the transitional government.

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