Elections in Estonia After the Restoration of Independence
On August 20, 1991, the Resolution on the National Independence of Estonia was adopted, and diplomatic relations with other states were re-established. Constitutional Assembly for drafting the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia was formed.

In June 1992, the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia was adopted. According to this Constitution, regular elections to the Riigikogu take place on the first Sunday of March of the fourth year from the previous election to the Riigikogu.

The Members of the Riigikogu are elected on free election on a population basis. The election is universal, uniform and direct. Voting is secret. The procedure and system of election is established in detail by the Riigikogu Election Act.

The Riigikogu consists of 101 Members of the Riigikogu.

Riigikogu Election Procedure

Right to Vote
In Riigikogu elections, all Estonian citizens, incl. those residing permanently or temporarily abroad, who have attained eighteen years of age, who have not been divested of active legal capacity by a court or convicted of a criminal offence and who are not serving a prison term have the right to vote.

Right to Run as a Candidate
Estonian citizens with the right to vote who have attained twenty-one years of age by the last day of registration of candidates may run as candidates for member of the Riigikogu. Candidates can be nominated as candidate lists of political parties or as independent candidates.

Electoral Districts
With the objective of obtaining results in the election to the Riigikogu, eleven electoral districts have been formed in Estonia. The borders of electoral districts coincide with those of counties, however, an electoral district may also include several counties. In Tallinn, three electoral districts have been formed. Each electoral district is divided into polling divisions.

Political parties nominate their candidates in electoral districts and present also a national list of candidates. A candidate may be nominated in only one district.

An elector votes in the polling division of his or her residence, in which he or she is entered in the polling list. On advance poll days, an elector may vote outside the polling division of his or her residence.

The voting of people residing permanently or staying temporarily abroad is organised by the foreign representations of Estonia. If an elector due to his or her state of health or for other good reason is unable to vote in the polling division, he or she may request voting at his or her home.

In order to receive a ballot paper, an elector presents an identity document. The elector writes the registration number of one candidate appointed in the given electoral district on the ballot paper. The elector completes the ballot paper and deposits it in the ballot box himself or herself.

Counting of Votes
Counting of votes in a polling division is performed immediately after closing the division at 20 in the evening of the election day. In the electoral committees of the 15 counties and in the city electoral committees of Tallinn and Tartu the results of counting of votes in polling divisions are checked. In the National Electoral Committee, national voting results are verified.

Determination of Election Results
The election results are determined proceeding from the principle of proportionality: each political party must get the number of seats in the Riigikogu, which is proportional to the number of votes cast in favour of the candidates of the party.

Election results are determined in three rounds.

First, those candidates are considered to be elected, who get in their electoral district at least the number of votes equal to a simple quota. The simple quota is calculated for each electoral district by dividing the number of valid votes cast in the electoral district by the number of mandates. For example, in an electoral district with ten mandates, in which 1000 votes were cast, the simple quota is equal to 1000/10=100 votes.

After that the political parties, the candidates of which gathered more than 5 per cent of the total number of votes cast in the election, are found out. The candidates are re-ranked in the lists of electoral districts according to the number of votes received. The votes cast in favour of candidates in the same political party list in a district are summed up. A political party receives a number of mandates in an electoral district, which is equal to the number of times, by which the number of votes cast in that district in favour of the party list exceeds the simple quota in that district. For example, if the simple quota in a district is 100 and a political party list gets 300 votes, the party gets three mandates. Those candidates are elected who are at the top in the party lists and who get at least 10 per cent of the simple quota. The number of mandates of a political party is increased by one if the remainder of votes of a political party forms at least 75 per cent of the simple quota. A political party also receives a mandate in case the number of votes cast forms at least 75 per cent of the simple quota. The candidates at the top of the list in favour of whom the number of votes cast is at least ten per cent of the simple quota are elected.

In the third round, the mandates, which are not distributed on the basis of a simple quota, are distributed as compensation mandates among the national lists of political parties, the candidates of which receive at least 5 per cent of the votes nationally. For that, first, members of the distribution series are calculated, for which the number of the member is raised to the power 0.9 (the so-called modified d’Hondt distribution method). Then, the comparative figure of each candidate in the national lists is calculated. For that, the number of votes cast nationally in favour of the list of a political party is divided by the corresponding values of the distribution series. In calculating the comparative figures of each political party list, as many first members of the series are omitted as the number of mandates distributed to the list in the electoral districts. The candidate of a political party whose comparative figure is higher receives the compensation mandate. That is, the candidate who appears toward the top of the national list of a political party and in favour of whom the number of votes cast is at least five per cent of the simple quota receives the compensation mandate.

The National Electoral Committee registers the elected members of the Riigikogu by its decision after the election day when the time limit for submission of complaints to the National Electoral Committee and the Supreme Court has expired or final decisions have been made about the submitted complaints. The election results are deemed to be declared on the date following publication of the decision of the National Electoral Committee in the Riigi Teataja. The President of the Republic convenes the new Riigikogu for its first sitting on the tenth day after declaration of election results, at the latest.

Top / Back