Riigikogu
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Riigikogu

The bicameral 6th Riigikogu – the Chamber of Deputies and the National Council – represented the Estonian people in the period from 7 April 1938 to 5 July 1940. The actual work of the parliament ended already in April 1940. The impact of the 6th Riigikogu on domestic and foreign political development was modest, the national representative body remained in the shadow of the President and the Government. On 24 April 1938, Konstantin Päts was elected President of the Republic at the joint sitting of the Riigikogu and the assembly of representatives of local governments. The Amnesty Act was passed in May the same year.

Elections

Riigikogu was bicameral and it consisted of the Chamber of Deputies and the National Council.

The elections of the 6th Riigikogu were held on 24–25 February 1938. The country was under martial law which is popularly known as the silent era, and the activities of political parties were prohibited. The then Riigikogu was bicameral and it consisted of the Chamber of Deputies and the National Council.

Under the election regulation, citizen groups could nominate their candidates from 19 to 26 January, that is, during only eight days.

Every candidate had to pay a security of 250 kroons and collect signatures of 150 supporters.

The 80 members of the Chamber of Deputies were elected in general elections based on the majority principle. 214 candidates were nominated. As a result of the elections, the election coalition “The National Front for the Implementation of the Constitution”, established by the Government, won 46 of the 80 seats of the Chamber of Deputies, that is, the absolute majority.

The National Council, the second chamber of the Riigikogu, consisted of 40 members. Local governments of rural municipalities and cities, corporate chambers, etc., elected 24 members, 6 were members by virtue of their office and 10 members were appointed by the President-Regent under a special right.

Legislation

On 5 May 1938, the Riigikogu passed the Amnesty Act, under which, among other things, many political prisoners were released.

On 26 September 1939, an extraordinary sitting of the Government was held to discuss the ultimatum demands of the USSR. On the same day, a joint sitting of the foreign affairs committees and the national defence committees of the Chamber of Deputies and the National Council was held, where the Commander-in-Chief of the military forces Johan Laidoner recommended to fulfil the demands of the USSR.

On 28 September 1939, Estonia was forced, under the threat of war, to sign the agreement on mutual assistance between the URRS and Estonia that allowed the military bases of the Red Army to be established on the territory of Estonia.

On 23 January 1940, the Riigikogu passed the Public Health Organisation Act.

On 9 April 1940, the Riigikogu passed the Information Centre Act.

Workplace of the Board of the Chamber of Deputies in the Riigikogu Session Hall in 1938. Photo: Kaido Haagen, Peeter Laurits, Arne Maasik, Peeter Säre

Workplace of the Board of the Chamber of Deputies in the Riigikogu Session Hall in 1938. Photo: Kaido Haagen, Peeter Laurits, Arne Maasik, Peeter Säre

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Last updated: 16.06.2016

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