The 4th Riigikogu held the legislative power in Estonia from 15 June 1929 to 14 June 1932. Its members represented ten political parties and election coalitions. The Estonian Socialist Workers Party, the Farmers' Assemblies and the Union of Farmers, Settlers and Small Landowners had the largest number of representatives. Tensions in economy also deepened the conflicts in politics. The most important legislative acts that were passed were the Marital Law Act, the Grain Act and the new Public Primary schools Act. Besides that, a Bill was drafted which established the position of the Head of State and the reduction of the number of the members of the parliament from 100 to 80.
The elections of the 4th Riigikogu were held on 11–13 May 1929. There were 712,670 eligible voters and 508,106 of them participated in the elections, so the turnout rate was 69.3%.
The winner of the elections was the Estonian Socialist Workers’ Party, who got 25 seats (24.1% of the votes given). They were followed by the Farmers’ Assemblies with 24 seats (23.1%), the Union of Farmers, Settlers and Small Landowners with 14 seats (13.7%) and the Estonian Labour Party with 10 seats (10.2%).
From smaller political parties and election coalitions, the Estonian People’s Party, the Communist Estonian Workers’ Party, the Christian People’s Party, the German-Swedish Election Block, the Economic Group won seats in the Riigikogu.
Karl Einbund was elected the Speaker of the Riigikogu, Mihkel Martna was elected the First Deputy Speaker and Rudolf Penno the Second Deputy Speaker.
4th Riigikogu drafted a bill, which established the position of the Head of State and the reduction of the number of the members of the parliament from 100 to 80.
Tensions in economy also deepened the conflicts in politics. In March 1932, the Riigikogu concluded the legislative proceedings of the Bill on Making Amendments to the Constitution, and it was decided to submit it to a referendum in August. The Bill was prepared by a subcommittee formed of the members of all political parties, and it provided establishing the position of the Head of State and reducing the number of the members of the Riigikogu from 100 to 80.
The most important Acts passed by the 4th Riigikogu were the Grain Act, according to which the import of rye and rye flour became the exclusive right of the state, and the new Public Primary Schools Act, which established the obligation to attend school until finishing the 6th grade of primary school or until the pupil attained the age of 16 years. The Martial Law Act passed by the 4th Riigikogu also had an important role.
Helmut Maandi describes the work in the Riigikogu: “The members of the Riigikogu who lived in Tallinn or its closer surroundings could keep their jobs. The work in the Riigikogu enabled to pursue professional work. Plenary sittings were not held every day of the week and usually took place in the afternoon, starting at 5 p.m. The committees worked during the day, but not all members of the Riigikogu belonged to them. The situation of the parliamentarians living far from Tallinn was worse. During the sessions they usually came to Tallinn by Monday, lived in hotels or with acquaintances, and went back home on Friday. The members of the Riigikogu from more remote places used their time in Tallinn for visiting administrative agencies and taking care of the official business of the people of their region.” (“Eestit tagasivaates” (“Estonia in Retrospect”), 1987)
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