Head of State of Estonia

The Head of State of Estonia or State Elder (Estonian: riigivanem) was the official title of the Estonian head of state from 1920 to 1937.[1] He combined some of the functions held by a president and prime minister in most other democracies.

According to the 1920 Estonian Constitution, which was enforced by the “Constitution of the Republic of Estonia, the Referendum Act and the Citizens’s Initiative Act Implementation Act“ on July 2, 1920, after being approved by the Constituent Assembly on June 16, 1920 (Riigi Teataja August 9, 1920 No. 113/114), the Government of the Republic consisted of the riigivanem (Head of State) and Ministers (Section 58).

The responsibilities of the Head of State were representing the Republic of Estonia, administration and co-ordination of the activities of the Government of the Republic, chairing the Government meetings; the Head of State had the right to make inquiries about the activities of the Ministers (Section 62). The Government of the Republic appointed one of its members the Deputy of the Elder of State.

In practice, the Head of State had very little power. The 1920 constitution was radically parliamentarian in character, and the Head of State could be voted out of office at any time. This limited his ability to play a balancing role between the government and the legislature.

With the 1934 constitution, the institution saw a reform and it became the equivalent of a president only as a separate head of government was to be elected. The 1934 coup by Konstantin Päts resulted in the institution never coming to real life as he ruled as the Prime Minister in Duties of the Head of State until 1937.

Heads of State of the Republic of Estonia, 1920–1934Edit

Portrait Name Term of Office Political Party Cabinet Riigikogu
(Election)
Separate
Head of State
Took Office Left Office Days
The 1920 Constitution replaced the office of Prime Minister.
1   Ants Piip
(1884–1942)
1st State Elder
20 December 1920 25 January 1921 92 Labour Party
(ETE)
Piip
ETE
Constituent
Assembly
(1919)
None
2   Konstantin Päts
(1874–1956)
2nd State Elder
25 January 1921 21 November 1922 666 Farmers' Assemblies
(PK)
Päts I
PKETEEREKRE
PK(ETE)EREKRE
PKEREKRE
[Note 1]
I
(1920)
3 Juhan Kukk
(1885–1942)
3rd State Elder
21 November 1922 2 August 1923 255 Labour Party
(ETE)
Kukk
ETEPKERE
ETEPK–(ERE)
[Note 2]
4   Konstantin Päts
(1874–1956)
4th State Elder
(2nd term)
2 August 1923 26 March 1924 238 Farmers' Assemblies
(PK)
Päts II
PKKREEREETE
PKKREERE(ETE)
PKKREERE
[Note 3]
II
(1923)
5   Friedrich Karl Akel
(1871–1941)
5th State Elder
26 March 1924 16 December 1924 266 Christian People's Party
(KRE)
Akel
KREETEERE
6   Jüri Jaakson
(1870–1942)
6th State Elder
16 December 1924 15 December 1925 365 People's Party
(ERE)
Jaakson
EREPKESDTPETEKRE
EREPKESTPETEKRE
[Note 4]
7   Jaan Teemant
(1872–1941?)
7th State Elder
15 December 1925 23 July 1926 725 Farmers' Assemblies
(PK)
Teemant I
PKETEKREARVK
PKETEKREARVKRVP
[Note 5]
23 July 1926 4 March 1927 Teemant II
PKARVKKREEREÜMSL
III
(1926)
4 March 1927 9 December 1927 Teemant III
PKARVKEREKREÜMSL
8   Jaan Tõnisson
(1868–1941?)
8th State Elder
9 December 1927 4 December 1928 362 People's Party
(ERE)
Tõnisson III
EREPKARVKETE
9   August Rei
(1886–1963)
9th State Elder
4 December 1928 9 July 1929 218 Socialist Workers' Party
(ESTP)
Rei
ESTPARVKETEKRE
10   Otto August Strandman
(1875–1941)
10th State Elder
9 July 1929 12 February 1931 584 Labour Party
(ETE)
Strandman II
ETEARVKPKKREERE
IV
(1929)
11   Konstantin Päts
(1874–1956)
11th State Elder
(3rd term)
12 February 1931 19 February 1932 373 Farmers' Assemblies
(PK)
Päts III
PKEREESTP
PKERE/(KRE)–ESTP
PK/(PAVK)–ERE/(KRE)–ESTP
PK/(PAVK)–RKEESTP
[Note 6]
12   Jaan Teemant
(1872–1941?)
12th State Elder
(2nd term)
19 February 1932 19 July 1932 152 Farmers' Assemblies
(PK)
Teemant IV
PK/PAVKRKE
ÜPERKE
[Note 7]
United Farmers' Party
(ÜPE)
13   Karl August Einbund
(later Kaarel Eenpalu)
(1888–1942)
13th State Elder
19 July 1932 1 November 1932 106 United Farmers' Party
(ÜPE)
Einbund I
ÜPERKE
[Note 8]
V
(1932)
14   Konstantin Päts
(1874–1956)
14th State Elder
(4th term)
1 November 1932 18 May 1933 199 United Farmers' Party
(ÜPE)
Päts IV
ÜPERKEESTP
15   Jaan Tõnisson
(1868–1941?)
15th State Elder
(2nd term)
18 May 1933 21 October 1933 157 National Centre Party
(RKE)
Tõnisson IV
RKEÜPE
16   Konstantin Päts
(1874–1956)
16th State Elder
(5th term)
21 October 1933 24 January 1934 1,647 Farmers' Assemblies
(PK)
[Note 9]
Päts V
non-party coalition
[Note 10]
The 1934 Constitution divided the office of State Elder between a new office called State Elder and a Prime Minister.

Head of State of the Republic of Estonia, 1934–1937Edit

Portrait Name Term of Office Political Party Cabinet Riigikogu
(Election)
Separate
Head of Government
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
(1874–1956)
6th Prime Minister
(in duties of the State Elder)
24 January 1934 3 September 1937 1,319 Farmers' Assemblies
(PK)
[Note 11]
Päts V
non-party coalition
[Note 10]
V
(1932)
Prime Minister
in duties of
the State Elder

Konstantin
Päts
None
[Note 12]
Parliament
disbanded

[Note 13]
The Amendment Act of the 1938 Constitution temporarily merged the offices of State Elder and Prime Minister into President-Regent.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The Estonian Labour Party (ETE) left the coalition on 13 October 1921. Its ministers resigned on 20 October 1921.
  2. ^ The Minister of Internal Affairs Karl August Einbund, the only representative of the Estonian People's Party (ERE) in the coalition, left the party on 5 March 1923. His former party decided to remain in the coalition without any ministerial positions.
  3. ^ The Estonian Labour Party (ETE) left the coalition on 14 February 1924. Its ministers remained in office until 19 February 1924.
  4. ^ The Estonian Social Democratic Workers' Party (ESDTP) merged with the Independent Socialist Workers' Party (ISTP) and formed the Estonian Socialist Workers' Party (ESTP) on 9 April 1925 and the new party remained in the government.
  5. ^ The National Liberal Party (RVP) joined the coalition on 12 January 1926.
  6. ^ The parliamentary group of the Estonian People's Party (ERE) merged with the parliamentary group of the Christian People's Party (KRE) on 28 October 1931 and the parliamentary group of the Farmers' Assemblies (PK) with the parliamentary group of the Settlers', State Tenants' and Smallholders' Group (PAVK) on 26 January 1932, with both party coalitions remaining in the government. The Estonian People's Party (ERE) and the Christian People's Party (KRE), already in a party coalition, merged with the Estonian Labour Party (ETE) and formed the National Centre Party (RKE) on 29 January 1932. The party remained in the government.
  7. ^ The Farmers' Assemblies (PK) and the Settlers', State Tenants' and Smallholders' Group (PAVK), already in a party coalition, merged and formed the United Farmers' Party (ÜPE) on 29 February 1932. The new party remained in the coalition.
  8. ^ As Karl August Einbund Estonianized his name into Kaarel Eenpalu, his two cabinets are therefore known as Einbund I and Eenpalu II cabinets.
  9. ^ All political parties were banned on 20 March 1935.
  10. ^ a b 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.
  11. ^ All political parties were banned on 20 March 1935.
  12. ^ Was member of the Patriotic League which was the only sanctioned political organization, but which cannot be considered a political party per se.
  13. ^ The "Era of Silence" began with Konstantin Päts' self-coup on 12 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 January 1938.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Eesti Vabariigi Riigikantselei 1918-1940". Riigikantselei (in Estonian). Retrieved 19 January 2022.