Riigikogu
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Riigikogu

The 1st Riigikogu held the legislative power in Estonia from 20 December 1920 until 20 May 1923. Its members belonged to ten political parties and electoral alliances, most notably the Estonian Labour Party, Farmers' Assemblies, Estonian Social Democratic Workers Party, Estonian People’s Party, and Estonian Independent Socialist Workers' Party. The 1st parliament passed many important legal acts, including the Estonian Flag Act, Citizenship Act, Print Act, and Fishing Act.

Elections

Under the Constitution, the Riigikogu was elected for three years; however, the 1st Riigikogu had to yield its mandate before term.

The elections of the 1st Riigikogu were held on 27–29 November 1920. Ten political parties and electoral alliances won seats in the 1st Riigikogu. There were 653,618 eligible voters, 474,527 of whom voted, resulting in a turnout rate of 72.6 %.

The winner was the Estonian Labour Party who received 22 seats (and 21 % of the votes cast). The Farmers’ Assemblies won 21 seats (20.8 %), Estonian Social Democratic Workers Party 18 seats (17 %), Estonian Independent Socialist Workers’ Party 11 seats (10.6 %), and Estonian People’s Party 10 seats (10.4 %). Less seats were given to candidates from the lists of the Christian People’s Party, the Economic Group, trade unions, German and Russian parties.

Otto Strandman became the first President of the Riigikogu.

Under the Constitution, the Riigikogu was elected for three years; however, the 1st Riigikogu had to yield its mandate before term. The reason for this was the referendum held on 17–19 February 1923, where the majority opposed the parliament’s plan to amend the Primary Schools Act by eliminating religion from the curriculum of primary schools. The elections of the new parliament were proclaimed under Section 32 of the Constitution. This remains the only case where the Riigikogu has been dissolved and a new parliament elected under this provision.

The 1st Riigikogu held its sittings in the White Hall of Toompea Castle until autumn 1922 when the new Riigikogu building with its large session hall was completed.

Legislation

The most important legal acts passed by the 1st Riigikogu were the Estonian Flag Act, Citizenship Act, Print Act, and Fishing Act.

In his book „Eestit tagasivaates“ (“Estonia in Retrospect” 1987), Helmut Maandi describes work in the Riigikogu: “The 100-member Riigikogu united individuals of different level of education and diverse professions. It had farmers, workers, artisans, businessmen, clerics, public servants, doctors and lawyers.

Otto Strandman became the first President of the Riigikogu. The institution of the President of the Riigikogu was as old as that of the State Elder.”

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Last updated: 03.10.2017

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