Politics of Estonia takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic in which the Prime Minister of Estonia (Eesti Vabariigi Peaminister) is the head of government and of a multi-party system.
The President of Estonia is elected by Parliament (Riigikogu) for a five-year term; if he or she does not secure two-thirds of the votes after three rounds of balloting, then an electoral assembly (made up of Parliament plus members of local governments) elects the president, choosing between the two candidates with the largest percentage of votes.
The prime minister is chosen by the president and conferred by Parliament. This is usually the leader of the largest party or coalition in the Parliament. The activity of the government is directed by the prime minister, who is the de facto political head of state. He/She does not head any specific ministry, but is, in accordance with the constitution, the supervisor of the work of the government. The prime minister’s significance and role in the government and his relations with other ministries often depend on the position of the party led by the prime minister in vis-à-vis the coalition partners, and on how much influence the prime minister possesses within his own party. If the prime minister has a strong position within his party, and the government is made up solely of representatives of that party, he can enjoy considerable authority. In all crucial national questions, however, the final word rests with the Parliament as the legislative power.
The Parliament has 101 members, elected for a four year term by proportional representation.
The supreme judiciary court is the National Court or Riigikohus, with 19 justices whose chairman is appointed by the parliament for life on nomination by the president.
Estonia numbers 15 main administrative subdivisions. Due to the geographical and demographic size of these subdivisions, they are to be considered counties rather than states.
conventional long form: Republic of Estonia
conventional short form: Estonia
local long form: Eesti Vabariik
local short form: Eesti
former: Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic
geographic coordinates: 59 26 N, 24 43 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
15 counties (maakonnad, singular - maakond); Harjumaa (Tallinn), Hiiumaa (Kardla), Ida-Virumaa (Johvi), Jarvamaa (Paide), Jogevamaa (Jogeva), Laanemaa (Haapsalu), Laane-Virumaa (Rakvere), Parnumaa (Parnu), Polvamaa (Polva), Raplamaa (Rapla), Saaremaa (Kuressaare), Tartumaa (Tartu), Valgamaa (Valga), Viljandimaa (Viljandi), Vorumaa (Voru)
note: counties have the administrative centre name following in parentheses
20 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
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