Andres Herkel

Last updated
Andres Herkel

IRL Andres Herkel.jpg
Leader of the Free Party
In office
2014 24 April 2017
Preceded byParty established
Succeeded by Artur Talvik
In office
12 May 2018 30 September 2018
Preceded by Artur Talvik
Succeeded byKaul Nurm
Personal details
Born (1962-08-14) 14 August 1962 (age 57)
Tallinn, Estonia
Political party Free Party
Alma mater University of Tartu

Andres Herkel (born 14 August 1962 in Tallinn) is an Estonian politician. He started his public activities in the late 1980s. From the very beginning of the independence movement in Estonia, he affiliated himself with pro-independence forces, which had close ties with Soviet-era dissidents. He played an active role in building up free media in then occupied Estonia, being among the founders of the Independent Info Centre in 1988. He was the leader of the Estonian Free Party.

Tallinn City in Harju, Estonia

Tallinn is the capital, primate and the most populous city of Estonia. Located in the northern part of the country, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland of the Baltic Sea, it has a population of 434,562. Administratively a part of Harju maakond (county), Tallinn is a major financial, industrial, cultural, educational and research centre of Estonia. Tallinn is located 80 kilometres (50 mi) south of Helsinki, Finland, 320 kilometres (200 mi) west of Saint Petersburg, Russia, and 380 kilometres (240 mi) east of Stockholm, Sweden. It has close historical ties with these three cities. From the 13th century until the first half of the 20th century Tallinn was known in most of the world by its historical German name Reval.

Estonia Republic in Baltic Region of Northern Europe

Estonia, officially the Republic of Estonia, is a country on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland with Finland on the other side, to the west by the Baltic Sea with Sweden on the other side, to the south by Latvia (343 km), and to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia (338.6 km). The territory of Estonia consists of a mainland and 2,222 islands in the Baltic Sea, covering a total area of 45,227 km2 (17,462 sq mi), water 2,839 km2 (1,096 sq mi), land area 42,388 km2 (16,366 sq mi), and is influenced by a humid continental climate. The official language of the country, Estonian, is the second-most-spoken Finnic language.

Estonian Free Party

The Estonian Free Party is an Estonian centre-right political party founded in 2014. The chairman of the party is Heiki Lill. The party gained 8 seats after passing the 5-percent threshold in the 2015 Estonian parliamentary elections.


Education and training

His alma mater is the University of Tartu, where he obtained a first degree in psychology (cum laude, 1985) and an M.A. degree in history (1998, thesis on ancient Indian philosophy). He was greatly inspired by his then professor, well-known Estonian orientalist Linnart Mäll (1938-2010), whose work in the Unrepresented Peoples and Nations Organization (UNPO) he followed with keen interest.

University of Tartu university in the city of Tartu, Estonia

The University of Tartu is a university in the city of Tartu in Estonia. It is the national university of Estonia, and the only classical university in the country, and also the biggest and most prestigious university in Estonia. It was founded under the name of Academia Gustaviana in 1632 by Baron Johan Skytte, the Governor- General (1629–1634) of Swedish Livonia, Ingria and Karelia, with the required ratification provided by his long-time friend and former student – from age 7 –, King Gustavus Adolphus, shortly before the king's death on 6 November in the Battle of Lützen (1632), during the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648).

Linnart Mäll Estonian historian, orientalist, translator and politician

Linnart Mäll was an Estonian historian, orientalist, translator and politician.

Professional career

Andres Herkel Herkel.JPG
Andres Herkel

Andres Herkel began his professional career as researcher in the Estonian Institute of Pedagogical Research (1985-1989), followed by posts of editor of the literary journal Vikerkaar (1990-1991), editor-in-chief of Eesti Elu/Kultuur ja Elu (Estonian Life/Culture and Life) journal (1991-1992) and lecturer in the Estonian Institute of Humanities. In 1993-1999 he worked as Media Adviser in the Pro Patria faction of the Riigikogu (Estonian Parliament).

Kultuur ja Elu is an Estonian magazine dedicated to culture.

Riigikogu parliament of Estonia

The Riigikogu is the unicameral parliament of Estonia. All important state-related questions pass through the Riigikogu. In addition to approving legislation, the Riigikogu appoints high officials, including the Prime Minister and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and elects the President. The Riigikogu also ratifies significant foreign treaties that impose military and proprietary obligations, bring about changes in law, etc.; approves the budget presented by the government as law and monitors the executive power.

In 1994, Herkel joined the conservative Pro Patria party (now known as the Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica - IRL). In 1999 he was for the first time elected to Riigikogu. In 2004 - 2007 he was Chairperson of the Pro Patria faction in Riigikogu. He currently serves his fourth term in parliament, having been re-elected in the recent elections in March 2011.

In national politics, Herkel is he well known for his commitment to conservative values and for his conciliatory approach. He was the driving force behind the adoption of the statement on crimes of communism (link) in the Estonian Parliament (2002), which was approved by an impressive consensus.

Throughout his political career, Herkel has also focused on international affairs. Since 2003 he has been member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), where he has held significant positions: Head of the Estonian delegation since 2007, Vice-President of the PACE (2009-2011), rapporteur on the honouring of obligations and commitments by Azerbaijan (2004-2010) and the situation in Belarus (since 2011). In Azerbaijan his stern stance with the authorities won him much respect among human rights defenders and civil society activists. He has participated in various PACE election observation missions in Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. He is also committed to pursuing the cause of human rights in Northern Caucasus, Cuba and Tibet. His articles on foreign policy are regularly published in Estonian press.

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe parliamentary assembly

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is the parliamentary arm of the Council of Europe, a 47-nation international organisation charged dues to their members, dedicated to upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The Council of Europe is an older and wider circle of nations than the 28-member European Union – it includes, for example, Russia and Turkey among its member states – and oversees the European Court of Human Rights.

Azerbaijan Country in the South Caucasus

Azerbaijan, officially the Republic of Azerbaijan, is a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west and Iran to the south. The exclave of Nakhchivan is bounded by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, and has an 11 km (6.8 mi) long border with Turkey in the northwest.

Ukraine Sovereign state in Eastern Europe

Ukraine, sometimes called the Ukraine, is a country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Russia to the north-east; Belarus to the north; Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west; and Romania, Moldova, and the Black Sea to the south. Ukraine is currently in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it both the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic. The dominant religion in the country is Eastern Orthodoxy.

In his campaign for the March 2011 parliamentary elections in Estonia, Herkel used small pepper-bags called „Herkel’s pepper-mix“ with an aim of averting his electorate that too sweet campaign promises are counterproductive and unrealistic. He warned against repeating the same fiscal mistakes that had been made before the 2008-2010 economic crises in Estonia.

Herkel is a long-standing member of the Estonian Broadcasting Council (1994-2000 and 2007-2011) and Vice-President of Estonian Academic Oriental Society (2000-2011).


Andres Herkel has published several books in Estonian, including „The Russian Puzzle“ (Vene mõistatus, 2007) „Cuba in my Heart“ (Kuuba südames, together with former PM Mart Laar, 2008) and „Azerbaijani letters” (Aserbaidžaani kirjad, 2010). The latter is being translated into English.

Mart Laar Estonian politician and historian

Mart Laar is an Estonian politician and historian. He served as the Prime Minister of Estonia from 1992 to 1994 and from 1999 to 2002. Laar is credited with having helped bring about Estonia’s rapid economic development during the 1990s. He is a member of the Pro Patria party.

Herkel has also published poetry and is an award-winning essay-writer in Estonia (prizes by the main Estonian literary journal Looming (1993) and cultural weekly Sirp (1998).


Andres Herkel is a native speaker of Estonian. He is fluent in English and Russian, has good knowledge of French, German and Finnish. In his student years he also studied classical Sanskrit.


Related Research Articles

Juhan Parts former Prime Minister of Estonia

Juhan Parts is an Estonian politician who was Prime Minister of Estonia from 2003 to 2005 and Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications from 2007 to 2014. Juhan Parts is a member of the Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica party.

Estonian Reform Party political party from Estonia

The Estonian Reform Party is a liberal political party in Estonia. The party is led by Kaja Kallas and has 34 members in the 101-member Riigikogu, making it the largest party in the legislature.

Res Publica Party was a political party in Estonia that self-identified as conservative and therefore member of the International Democrat Union, but considering its vague platform for 2003 election, the genuineness of this ideology is disputed. Established as a party on 8 December 2001, the political organisation Res Publica was founded already as early as 1989 and existed as a community of young conservatives, mostly associated with the Pro Patria Union party during the 1990s. Res Publica was a member of the EPP on the European level. It merged with Pro Patria Union in 2006 to form the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union.

Toomas Hendrik Ilves Estonian politician who served as the fourth President of Estonia

Toomas Hendrik Ilves is an Estonian politician who served as the fourth President of Estonia from 2006 until 2016. Ilves worked as a diplomat and journalist, and he was the leader of the Social Democratic Party in the 1990s. He served in the government as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1996 to 1998 and again from 1999 to 2002. Later, he was a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2006. He was elected as President of Estonia by an electoral college on 23 September 2006 and his term as President began on 9 October 2006. He was reelected by Parliament in 2011.

Tunne Kelam Estonian politician

Tunne-Väldo Kelam is an Estonian politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Estonia. He is a member of the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union, part of the European People's Party.

The Pro Patria Union was a national-conservative political party in Estonia. The party was founded on 2 December 1995 from a merger of the Estonian National Independence Party and the Pro Patria National Coalition.

Andrus Ansip Estonian chemist and politician

Andrus Ansip is an Estonian politician, a member of the European Parliament, the former European Commissioner for Digital Single Market and Vice President of the European Commission, in office since 2014. Previously, he was Prime Minister of Estonia from 2005 to 2014 and chairman of the liberal Estonian Reform Party from 2004 to 2014.

Tõnis Lukas Estonian politician

Tõnis Lukas is an Estonian politician.

Estonia has recognised same-sex unions since January 1, 2016 by allowing same-sex couples to sign a cohabitation agreement, the first ex-Soviet state to do so.

Isamaa conservative political party in Estonia founded in 2006

Isamaa is a conservative political party in Estonia. It was founded on 4 June 2006 when two conservative parties, Pro Patria Union and Res Publica Party, merged. Up to the 2007 parliamentary elections, the party held 32 seats out of 101 in the Riigikogu and one of Estonia's six seats in the European Parliament. The party is a member of the European People's Party (EPP). It has about 8,500 members. The merged party consisted of two separate boards and two party leaders, which was replaced by a unified board and leader in May 2007. The party's prime minister candidate was Mart Laar, who became a chairman of the party.

Jaak Aaviksoo Estonian politician

Jaak Aaviksoo is an Estonian politician and physicist, rector of Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech).

Margus Tsahkna Estonian politician

Margus Tsahkna is an Estonian politician, former leader of the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union, former Minister of Defence in Jüri Ratas' cabinet and Minister of Social Protection in Taavi Rõivas' second cabinet.

Mart Nutt Estonian politician and historian

Mart Nutt was an Estonian politician and historian, member of the XIV Riigikogu since he was elected in the 2019 Estonian parliamentary election.

Taavi Rõivas Estonian politician

Taavi Rõivas is an Estonian politician, former leader of the Reform Party and former Prime Minister of Estonia. Before his term as the Prime Minister, Rõivas was the Minister of Social Affairs from 2012 to 2014. On 9 November 2016 his second cabinet lost a no confidence motion after two parties in the ruling coalition sided with the opposition.

2019 Estonian parliamentary election general election

Parliamentary elections were held in Estonia on 3 March 2019. The Reform Party remained the largest party, gaining 4 seats for a total of 34 and the Conservative People's Party had the largest gain overall, increasing their seat count by 12 to a total of 19 seats.

An indirect election took place in Estonia in 2016 to elect the president of Estonia, who is the country's head of state. The Riigikogu — the Parliament of Estonia — elected Kersti Kaljulaid to be the next head of state of Estonia to succeed Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who had served his second and final term as president. Kaljulaid is the first female head of state of Estonia.

Artur Talvik Estonian politician

Artur Talvik is an Estonian politician, film director, film producer, actor, and screenwriter. He is a member of the Riigikogu and a former member of the Estonian Free Party. He now leads the Richness of Life party.

Ülle Aaskivi was an Estonian lawyer, politician, and public official. Aaskivi was elected a member of the Estonian Supreme Soviet in 1990 and the Estonian Constitutional Assembly, as well as one of the ratifiers of the Constitution of Estonia who voted for the Estonian restoration of Independence. She was elected to the Riigikogu for the Social Democratic Party of Estonia.


  1. "Bearer of decorations: Andres Herkel". Estonian State Decorations. Retrieved 29 May 2018.