Board of the Riigikogu
The Board of the Riigikogu consists of the President and two Vice-Presidents. The Board coordinates the work of the Riigikogu. The Board is elected from the members of the Riigikogu for a term of one year. The President of the Riigikogu is the second most important official in the country after the President of the Republic, and can temporarily fulfil the duties of the President of the Republic, if need be.
Members of the Board:
President of the Riigikogu
The President of the Riigikogu represents the Riigikogu and presides over its work. The President of the Riigikogu convenes and chairs the meetings of the Board of the Riigikogu.
First Vice-President of the Riigikogu
The First Vice-President of the Riigikogu performs the duties of the President of the Riigikogu when the President of the Riigikogu is not present, his or her mandate has been suspended, and in certain other cases.
Second Vice-President of the Riigikogu
The Second Vice-President of the Riigikogu performs the duties of the President of the Riigikogu when the President of the Riigikogu is not present, his or her mandate has been suspended, and in certain other cases.
The mandate of the Board lasts for one year. The MPs elect a new Board from among themselves every spring.
Ene Ergma has been elected the President of the Riigikogu with the largest majority of votes since Estonia regained its independence. At the 2007 election of the Board, she received 91 votes in favour and 6 against.
What does the Board do?
The Board of the Riigikogu is responsible for the representation of the Riigikogu, distributes the seats in committees between parliamentary groups, approves the member lists of committees, registers parliamentary groups, prepares the draft agendas for plenary working weeks and submits them to the plenary assembly for approval. If a bill that has been submitted for legislative proceedings conforms to the rules of legislative drafting, the Board designates a lead committee for it.
The President of the Riigikogu chairs plenary sittings, convenes and chairs meetings of the Board, and presents draft agendas to the Board.
The Board of the Riigikogu organises the work of the Riigikogu under the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act, and the Status of Member of Riigikogu Act.
More detailed information on the tasks of the Board can be found here.
In the case the President of the Riigikogu is not present or his or her mandate is suspended, the duties of the President are performed by a Vice-President of the Riigikogu in accordance with the procedure established by the President of the Riigikogu. Under the Constitution, the President of the Riigikogu must fulfil the duties of the President of the Republic, if need be.
The Monday and Wednesday plenary sittings of the Riigikogu are chaired by the President of the Riigikogu, the Tuesday sitting by the First Vice-President, and the Thursday sitting by the Second Vice-President. If need be (e.g. if the President is on a mission abroad or has taken ill), the Board may also agree on different arrangements. If the plenary sitting is long, the President and the Vice-Presidents chair it in turns, generally two hours at a time.
In certain circumstances, the plenary sitting may be chaired by the eldest member of the Riigikogu present. This may happen when a member of the Board is running for the office of the President of the Republic and cannot chair plenary sittings because the law prohibits it.
Election of the Board
The candidates for the President and the Vice-Presidents of the Riigikogu are nominated by members of the Riigikogu. The candidates have to give their consent to stand in the elections. At the election of the President of the Riigikogu and also the election of the Vice-Presidents each MP has one vote. Voting is secret.
At the election of the President and also the election of the Vice-Presidents each MP has one vote.
Votes are counted publicly as soon as the voting ends. The candidate who receives more than one-half of the valid votes will become the President of the Riigikogu. If no candidate receives that many votes, an additional round of voting is held between the two candidates who received the most votes. If the vote is tied, a coin will be tossed. If only one candidate is nominated for the President of the Riigikogu, he or she is elected if more votes are cast in favour of him or her than against.
At the election of Vice-Presidents, the two candidates who receive the most votes will be elected. The candidate who received the greatest number of votes becomes the First Vice-President, and the second most popular candidate will become the Second Vice-President. An additional round of voting is held between the candidates if they receive an equal number of votes.
Board of the Riigikogu throughout history
The Board of the Riigikogu as the body who directs the work of the parliament is part of the parliamentary tradition in Estonia. The formation of the Board was already set out in the 3 July 1919 internal rules of the Constituent Assembly. The Board of the Constituent Assembly consisted of the President, First and Second Vice-Presidents, Secretary, and their First and Second Deputies. The activities of the Board of the Riigikogu have later been regulated by the Constitution and the internal rules of the Riigikogu.
Presidents of the Riigikogu
Otto Strandman 4 January 1921 – 18 November 1921
Johann (Juhan) Kukk 18 November 1921 – 20 November 1922
Konstantin Päts 20 November 1922 – 7 June 1923
Jaan Tõnisson 7 June 1923 – 27 May 1925
August Rei 9 June 1925 – 22 June 1926
Karl Einbund (later Kaarel Eenpalu) 22 June 1926 – 2 July 1929
Karl Einbund (later Kaarel Eenpalu) 2 July 1929 – 20 June 1932
Karl Einbund (later Kaarel Eenpalu) 20 June 1932 – 19 July 1932
Jaan Tõnisson 19 July 1932 – 18 May 1933
Karl Einbund (later Kaarel Eenpalu) (later Kaarel Eenpalu) 18 May 1933 – 29 August 1934
Rudolf Penno 28 September 1934 – 31 December 1937
Jüri Uluots 21 April 1938 – 12 October 1939 (Chamber of Deputies)
Otto Pukk17 October 1939 – 5 July 1940 (Chamber of Deputies)
Mihkel Pung 21.04.1938 – 05.07.1940 (National Council)
Ülo Nugis 5 October 1992 – 10 March 1995
Toomas Savi 21 March 1995 – 14 March 1999
Toomas Savi 18 March 1999 – 21 March 2003
Ene Ergma 31 March 2003 – 23 March 2006
Toomas Varek 23 March 2006 – 27 March 2007
Ene Ergma 2 April 2007 – 26 March 2011
Ene Ergma 4 April 2011 – 20 March 2014
Eiki Nestor 20 March 2014 – 23 March 2015
Eiki Nestor 30 March 2015 – 29 March 2019
Henn Põlluaas 4 April 2019 – 18 March 2021
Jüri Ratas 18 March 2021 – 31 March 2023
Last updated: 01.04.2023
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