OFFICIAL NAME: REPUBLIC OF ESTONIA
OFFICIAL NAME IN ESTONIAN: EESTI VABARIIK
NATIONAL FEAST: FEBRUARY 24 (Indipendence in 1918)
GOVERNMENT: PARLIAMENTARY REPUBLIC
ADMINISTRATIVE SUBDIVISION: 15 REGIONS or COUNTIES
MEMBER OF: COUNSIL OF EUROPE, NATO, ONU, OSCE, UE, WTO
Independent in 1918, Estonia was annexed to USSR in 1940. After the German occupation period (1941-1944), this encouraged an intensive Russian immigration. The independence was declared in 1991 and in 1992, through the Constitution, Estonia attributed a parliamentary system of government to itself. The Estonian Parliament only consists of one Chamber with 101 members who are elected every four years. Among its functions, the Parliament elects the President of the Republic who serves for five years. The executive power is wielded by the Government.
The Republic of Estonia is divided into fifteen counties:
1918: First Declaration of indipendence
1940: Annexion to USSR
1941-44: German occupation
1944: New annexion to USSR
1991: Second Declaration of indipendence
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
The President of the Republic is Head of State. Since Estonia is a parliamentary democracy, the President of the Republic's powers are quite limited and he has mainly a representative role. He (or she) is the chief of the Armed Forces and represents the Country in foreign affairs. He (or she) is elected by the the Parliament for a five-year term. The President of the Republic cannot be elected for more than two terms.
The current president is Toomas Ilves, elected in 2006.
The Riigikogu is the Estonian Parliament. Besides bringing about changes in laws and ratifying foreign treaties, among its main functions, it also nominates the President of the Republic. According to the Constitution, the Parliament only consists of one Chamber with 101 members. The first Estonian parliamentary elections took place in 1920, the last one in 2007.
The Government of the Republic of Estonia exercises executive power and carries out the country’s domestic and foreign policy. It is headed by the Prime Minister. Among its functions it formulates the financial law, then approved by the Parliament. It also manages and co-ordinates the activities of government agencies.
The current Government has the following composition:
- Prime Minister
- Ministry of Education and Research
- Ministry of Population Affairs
- Ministry of Regional Affairs
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Ministry of Social Affairs
- Ministry of Internal Affairs
- Ministry of Finance
- Ministry of Agriculture
- Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications
- Ministry of Culture
- Ministry of the Environment
- Ministry of Defence
- Ministry of Justice