Prime Minister of Estonia

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Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia
Eesti Vabariigi peaminister
Coat of arms of Estonia.svg
KE Juri Ratas.jpg
Jüri Ratas

since 23 November 2016
Member of European Council
Residence Stenbock House, Tallinn
Appointer President of Estonia
Term length General elections to the Riigikogu are held every four years at most. The Prime Minister is by convention the leader of the victorious party. No term limits are imposed on the office.
Inaugural holder Konstantin Päts
Formation24 February 1918
Salary€5,288 monthly [1]
Coat of arms of Estonia.svg
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The Prime Minister of Estonia ( Estonian: peaminister, literally Main Minister or Head Minister) is the head of government of the Republic of Estonia. The prime minister is nominated by the President after appropriate consultations with the parliamentary factions and confirmed by the Parliament. In case of disagreement, the Parliament can reject the President's nomination and choose their own candidate. In practice, since the Prime Minister must maintain the confidence of Parliament in order to remain in office, he is usually the leader of the senior partner in the governing coalition. The current Prime Minister is Jüri Ratas of the Centre Party. He took the office on 23 November 2016. On January 2021, he admitted his resignation following the Porto Franco scandal.


In his role as appointed by the President and laid forth in the Constitution, the Prime Minister serves as the head of government. He 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 Riigikogu as the legislative power.

Unlike his counterparts in other parliamentary republics, the Prime Minister is both de jure and de facto chief executive. This is because the Constitution explicitly vests executive power in the Government, of which the Prime Minister is the leader. In most other parliamentary republics, the president is at least nominal chief executive, while bound by convention to act on the cabinet's advice.


Estonia was governed by a Prime Minister during the first two years (1918–1920) of its independence after the collapse of the Russian Empire.

Under Estonia's 1920 constitution, the head of government was called the State Elder (riigivanem), who was also head of state. This system was a radically parliamentary system because the State Elder could be dismissed by the Parliament with a simple majority. Moreover, the State Elder was not the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, nor could he ratify laws or dissolve Parliament. The dissolution of Parliament was only possible through a referendum. [2] Under a new constitution passed by plebiscite in 1933, the position of Prime Minister was recreated as head of government in 1934 in a more presidential system. Under this constitution, the President could appoint and dismiss the Prime Minister and Cabinet, veto laws, give decrees (statutes) and dissolve Parliament. [3] The sitting State Elder, Konstantin Päts, appointed himself to the position of Prime Minister and in this position was then able to suspend elections for Elder of State and for the Estonian Parliament. He remained Prime Minister, declaring himself "President-Regent", until 1938, when elections were held under a new constitution and he was elected President.


PortraitNameTerm of OfficePolitical PartyCabinet Riigikogu
Head of State
Took OfficeLeft OfficeDays
The executive order of the Provisional Government and the Council of Elders of the Provincial Assembly replaced the office of Chairman of the Council of Ministers.
Konstantin Pats.jpg Konstantin Päts
Prime Minister
of the Provisional Government
12 November 19189 May 1919179Country People's Union
Päts I Provisional
Päts III Provisional
Prime minister Otto Strandman.jpg Otto August Strandman
1st Prime Minister
9 May 191918 November 1919194Labour Party
Strandman I
Jaan Tonisson1928.jpg Jaan Tõnisson
2nd Prime Minister
18 November 191928 July 1920254People's Party
Tõnisson I
Ado Birk.jpg Ado Birk
3rd Prime Minister
28 July 192030 July 19203People's Party
Jaan Tonisson1928.jpg Jaan Tõnisson
4th Prime Minister
(2nd term)
30 July 192026 October 192089People's Party
Tõnisson II
Ants Piip, 1923.jpg Ants Piip
5th Prime Minister
26 October 192020 December 192056Labour Party
The 1920 Constitution replaced the office with State Elder.


PortraitNameTerm of OfficePolitical PartyCabinet Riigikogu
Head of State
Took OfficeLeft OfficeDays
The 1934 Constitution divided the office of State Elder between a new office called State Elder and a Prime Minister.
Konstantin Pats.jpg Konstantin Päts
6th Prime Minister
(in duties of the State Elder)
(2nd term)
24 January 19343 September 19371,319Farmers' Assemblies and
Association of Settlers
Päts V
non-party coalition
Prime Minister
in duties of
the State Elder

Fatherland Union

[Note 1]

[Note 2]
The Amendment Act of the 1938 Constitution temporarily merged the offices of State Elder and Prime Minister into President-Regent.


PortraitNameTerm of OfficePolitical PartyCabinet Riigikogu
Head of State
Took OfficeLeft OfficeDays
The 1938 Constitution divided the office of President-Regent between a President and a Prime Minister.
Kaarel Eenpalu.jpg Kaarel Eenpalu
Acting Prime Minister
24 April 19389 May 1938537Fatherland Union
Päts V
non-party coalition
[Note 3]

7th Prime Minister9 May 193812 October 1939Eenpalu II
non-party coalition
Juri Uluots.jpg Jüri Uluots
8th Prime Minister
12 October 193921 June 1940254Fatherland Union
non-party coalition
1st Soviet Occupation
German Occupation
Otto Tief.jpg Otto Tief
Acting Prime Minister
18 September 194425 September 19448NoneTief
non-party coalition
Prime Minister
in duties of
the President

Jüri Uluots
2nd Soviet Occupation
(See Estonian Government in Exile)


PortraitNameTerm of OfficePolitical PartyCabinet Riigikogu
Head of State
Took OfficeLeft OfficeDays
2nd Soviet Occupation
(See Estonian Government in Exile)
Edgar Savisaar 2005-crop.jpg Edgar Savisaar
(1950– )
1st Prime Minister of the Interim Government
3 April 1990
[Note 4]
29 January 1992668 Popular Front
Savisaar Interim
various coalition partners

[Note 5]
Chairman of the
Supreme Council

Arnold Rüütel
Tiit Vahi teisel Arvamusfestivalil Narvas.jpg Tiit Vähi
(1947– )
2nd Prime Minister of the Interim Government
29 January 199221 October 1992266NoneVähi Interim
various coalition partners
Mart Laar.png Mart Laar
(1960– )
9th Prime Minister
21 October 19928 November 1994749 Fatherland
Laar I
Lennart Georg Meri
Andres Tarand 12.4.2012.jpg Andres Tarand
(1940– )
10th Prime Minister
8 November 199417 April 1995161 Moderates
Tiit Vahi teisel Arvamusfestivalil Narvas.jpg Tiit Vähi
(1947– )
11th Prime Minister
(2nd term)
17 April 199517 March 1997701 Coalition Party's and
Country People's Alliance

Vähi I
Vähi II
Siimann Mart.IMG 2960.JPG Mart Siimann
(1946– )
12th Prime Minister
17 March 199725 March 1999739 Coalition Party's and
Country People's Alliance

Mart Laar.png Mart Laar
(1960– )
13th Prime Minister
(2nd term)
25 March 199928 January 20021,041 Pro Patria Union
Laar II
Arnold Rüütel
Kallas Siim.IMG 3350.JPG Siim Kallas
(1948– )
14th Prime Minister
28 January 200210 April 2003438 Reform Party
Juhan-Parts.jpg Juhan Parts
(1966– )
15th Prime Minister
10 April 200312 April 2005735 Res Publica Party
Portrait Andrus Ansip.jpg Andrus Ansip
(1956– )
16th Prime Minister
12 April 200526 March 20143,271 Reform Party
Ansip I
Toomas Hendrik Ilves
Ansip II
Ansip III
RE Taavi Roivas.jpg Taavi Rõivas
(1979– )
17th Prime Minister
26 March 201423 November 2016973 Reform Party
Rõivas I
Rõivas II
Kersti Kaljulaid
KE Juri Ratas.jpg Jüri Ratas
(1978– )
18th Prime Minister
23 November 2016Still in office [4] 1512 Centre Party
Ratas II

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  1. "Riigikogu liikmete ja teiste kõrgemate riigiteenijate palk ei muutu". Postimees. 15 March 2017.
  2. (Seppo Zetterberg, "A History of Estonia" / Viron historia. 3rd edition. Helsinki: The Finnish Literary Society / Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2007, pages 524–525)
  3. (Zetterberg 2007, pages 558–559)
  4. "The prime minister notified the president of the resignation of the government | Eesti Vabariigi Valitsus". Retrieved 13 January 2021.


  1. All political parties were banned on 20 March 1935. The Fatherland Union was the only sanctioned political organization, but cannot be considered a political party per se.
  2. The "Era of Silence" began on with Päts' self-coup on 21 March 1934. The Riigikogu approved of the coup retroactively on 15 March 1934. The Riigikogu was thereafter not convened after 2 October 1934. It was officially disbanded on 1 October 1938.
  3. Although Konstantin Päts resigned as President-Regent on 24 April 1938 to become the President on the same day, his cabinet remained temporarily in office until 9 May 1938, headed by acting Prime Minister Kaarel Eenpalu.
  4. The Supreme Council of the Estonian SSR on 30 March 1990 declared Soviet rule to have been illegal since 1940 and declared a transition period for full independence. Full independence was restored on 20 August 1991.
  5. Elections were for the "Supreme Soviet", but the translation of the assembly name was changed before the Interim Government was sworn in, on 29 March 1990.

See also