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Estonia Government

    Country name:
    conventional long form: Republic of Estonia
    conventional short form: Estonia
    local long form: Eesti Vabariik
    local short form: Eesti
    former: Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic

    Data code: EN

    Government type: parliamentary democracy

    Capital: Tallinn

    Administrative divisions: 15 counties (maakonnad, singular—maakond): Harjumaa (Tallinn), Hiiumaa (Kardla), Ida-Virumaa (Johvi), Jarvamaa (Paide), Jogevamaa (Jogeva), Laanemaa (Haapsalu), Laane-Virumaa (Rakvere), Parnumaa (Parnu), Polvamaa (Polva), Raplamaa (Rapla), Saaremaa (Kuessaare), Tartumaa (Tartu), Valgamaa (Valga), Viljandimaa (Viljandi), Vorumaa (Voru)
    note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)

    Independence: 6 September 1991 (from Soviet Union)

    National holiday: Independence Day, 24 February (1918)

    Constitution: adopted 28 June 1992

    Legal system: based on civil law system; no judicial review of legislative acts

    Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal for all Estonian citizens

    Executive branch:
    chief of state: President Lennart MERI (since 5 October 1992)
    head of government: Prime Minister Mart SIIMANN (since 12 March 1997)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister, approved by Parliament
    elections: president elected by Parliament for a five-year term; if he or she does not secure two-thirds of the votes after three rounds of balloting, then an electoral assembly (made up of Parliament plus members of local governments) elects the president, choosing between the two candidates with the largest percentage of votes; election last held August-September 1996 (next to be held fall 2001); prime minister nominated by the president and approved by Parliament
    election results: Lennart MERI elected president by an electoral assembly after Parliament was unable to break a deadlock between MERI and RUUTEL; percent of electoral assembly vote—Lennart MERI 61%, Arnold RUUTEL 39%

    Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament or Riigikogu (101 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
    elections: last held 5 March 1995 (next to be held 7 March 1999)
    election results: percent of vote by party—KMU 32.22%, RE 16.18%, K 14.17%, Pro Patria and ERSP 7.85%, M 5.98%, Our Home is Estonia and Right-Wingers 5.0%; seats by party—KMU 41, RE 19, K 16, Pro Patria 8, Our Home is Estonia 6, M 6, Right-Wingers 5

    Judicial branch: National Court, chairman appointed by Parliament for life

    Political parties and leaders: Coalition Party and Rural Union or KMU [Mart SIIMAN, chairman] made up of four parties: Coalition Party or EK, Country People's Party [Arnold RUUTEL, chairman]/Farmer's Assembly or EME, Rural Union or EM [Arvo SIRENDI, chairman] , and Pensioners' and Families' League or EPPL [Mai TREIAL, chairperson]; Reform Party or RE [Siim KALLAS, chairman]; Center Party or K [Edgar SAVISAAR, chairman]; Union of Pro Patria or Fatherland League (Isamaaliit) [Mart LAAR, chairman]; Our Home is Estonia [Viktor ANDREJEV] made up of two parties: United People's Party and the Russian Party of Estonia; note—Our Home is Estonia split when two Russian Party of Estonia members withdrew; United People's Party [Viktor ANDREJEV, chairman]; Russian Party of Estonia [Nikolai MASPANOV, chairman]; Moderates or M [Andres TARAND] made up of two parties: Social Democratic Party or ESDP and Rural Center Party or EMK; Social Democratic Party [Eiki NESTOR, chairman]; Rural Center Party [Vambo KAAL, chairman]; Development/Progressive Party [Andra VEIDEMANN, chairwoman] (created by defectors from Center Party in late spring 1996, Development Party faction split and now holds five independent seats); People's Party [Toomas Hendrick KUES]

    International organization participation: BIS, CBSS, CCC, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNMIBH, UNTSO, UPU, WEU (associate partner), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (applicant)

    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Grigore-Kaleu STOICESCU
    chancery: 2131 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 588-0101
    FAX: [1] (202) 588-0108
    consulate(s) general: New York

    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Melissa WELLS
    embassy: Kentmanni 20, Tallinn EE 0001
    mailing address: use embassy street address
    telephone: [372] (6) 312-021
    FAX: [372] (6) 312-025

    Flag description: pre-1940 flag restored by Supreme Soviet in May 1990—three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), black, and white

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)