Estonia elects a legislature on the national level. The Riigikogu has 101 members, elected for a four-year term by proportional representation. A head of state - the president - is elected for a five-year term by parliament (1st-3rd round) or an electoral college (4th and subsequent rounds). Locally, Estonia elects local government councils, which vary in size. Election law states the minimum size of a council depending on the size of municipality. Local government councils are elected by proportional representation too.
Public elections have taken place in the following years: Past elections:
|Estonian Reform Party||162,332||28.8||34||+4|
|Estonian Centre Party||129,823||23.0||26||-1|
|Conservative People's Party||100,439||17.8||19||+12|
|Social Democratic Party||55,349||9.8||10||-5|
|Richness of Life||6,880||1.2||0||New|
|Estonian Free Party||6,533||1.2||0||-8|
|Estonian United Left||508||0.1||0||0|
|Source: Valimised (451 out of 451 polling stations) [internet votes]|
The Constitution of Estonia gives the Parliament of Estonia the power to submit a bill or other national issue to a referendum (article 105 of the Constitution). The result of the vote is binding. If a bill which is submitted to a referendum does not receive a majority of votes in favour, the President of the Republic shall declare extraordinary elections to the Parliament.
There are some issues which cannot be submitted to the referendum: issues regarding the budget, taxation, financial obligations of the state, ratification and denunciation of international treaties, the declaration or termination of a state of emergency, or national defence (article 105 of the Constitution).
Some parts of the Constitution (chapters "General Provisions" and "Amendment of the Constitution") can be amended only by a referendum (article 162 of the Constitution). The rest of Constitution can be amended either by
A three-fifths majority of the membership of the Parliament is required to submit a bill to amend the Constitution to a referendum (article 164 of the Constitution).
A referendum was called by the Parliament of Estonia on 2 occasions since Estonia regained independence from the USSR.
Also, there was a referendum on the restoration of Estonian independence in 1991 while Estonia was still under Soviet occupation.