The Riigikogu represents the people, solving important national issues. Its most important tasks are law-making, adoption of resolutions, carrying out parliamentary supervision and conducting foreign relations.
It is practically impossible for the people to take part directly in the state government, which is why the people elect a representative body – Riigikogu – from among themselves. This is the way the people exercise state power via the Estonian citizens with the right to vote.
How does the Riigikogu work?
Watch live broadcast from the Plenary Hall of the Riigikogu.
The Riigikogu working period is called a session and there are two regular sessions a year. The work of the Riigikogu takes place through plenary sittings, in committees and factions. The sittings of the Riigikogu are public and can be viewed from the balcony of the Plenary Hall.
Riigikogu can declare a sitting closed if it must discuss issues where a public debate would harm the country or its security, or if state secrets would be divulged. So far, this has only been done once, when the weapons procurement agreement was ratified.
What are the tasks of the Riigikogu?
In addition to these, the Riigikogu:
- decides on the organisation of referendums
- elects the President of the Republic
- ratifies and denounces foreign treaties
- authorises the candidate for Prime Minister to form the Government of the Republic
- passes the state budget and approves the report on its implementation
- on the proposal of the President of the Republic, appoints to office the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,the Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Estonia, the Auditor General, the Legal Chancellor, and the Commander or Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces
- on the proposal of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, appoints to office the justices of the Supreme Court
- appoints the members of the Board of Eesti Pank (the Bank of Estonia)
- on the proposal of the Government, decides on the assumption of proprietary obligations by the state
- presents statements, declarations and appeals to the people of Estonia, other states, and international organisations
- establishes state awards, and military and diplomatic ranks
- decides on the expression of no confidence in the Government of the Republic, the Prime Minister or individual ministers
- declares a state of emergency in the state
- on the proposal of the President of the Republic, declares a state of war, and orders mobilisation and demobilisation
- resolves other national issues which the Constitution does not vest in the President of the Republic, the Government of the Republic, other state bodies or local governments.
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