Estonian heads of state since 1918 and the legal grounds of their activities.

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Heads of State

The President of the Republic of Estonia

Pursuant to the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia (Riigi Teataja 1992,
No. 26, Art. 349) adopted by a referendum held on 28 June 1992 is the head of state of Estonia the President of the Republic (Chapter V §§ 77-85). The President of the Republic shall be elected for a term of five years. No one shall be elected to the office of President of the Republic for more than two consecutive terms. After adoption of the Constitution the President of the Republic, exceptionally, was elected for a term of four years.

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia in the Duties of the President

17.06.1940 the Soviet Union occupied the Republic of Estonia. According to Section 46 the Estonian Constitution (Riigi Teataja 03.09.1937 No. 71 Art 590), when the office of the President of the Republic of Estonia is vacant, or the President of the Republic can not perform his duties as in cases as specified by law, the duties of the President were to be performed by the Prime Minister, whereas the duties of the Prime Minister were to be performed by the Deputy Prime Minister. In case both the Prime Minister and his Deputy were incapable of performing the duties of the Prime Minister, they were to be fulfilled by the eldest member of the Government. (Section 52). In 1945, after the death of Jüri Uluots, the eldest member of the Government appointed by Jüri Uluots (with Otto Tief as the Deputy Prime Minister) was August Rei, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who assumed his position after the death of Jüri Uluots. The Prime Minister in the duties of the President assumed office in the same way until 1992.

President of the Republic of Estonia

According to the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia, passed in the General Assembly of the National Assembly on 28.07.1937 and proclaimed by Konstantin Päts as the Prime Minister in the duties of the Elder of State on 17.08.1937, (Riigi Teataja 03.09.1937 nr 71 art 590) the Head of State of the Republic of Estonia was the President of the Republic of Estonia (Chapter 4, Sections 38-47).

The Protector of State of the Republic of Estonia

In accordance with the Period of Transition Act, which was proclaimed 17.08.1937 by Konstantin Päts as Prime Minister in duties of the Elder of State, and entered into force on 03.09.1937 after publication in the Riigi Teataja (03.09.1937 nr 71 art 598) the Prime Minister continued to fulfil his duties in the official status of the Protector of State in duties of the Elder of State until the new Riigikogu had been convened.

Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia in the Duties of the Elder of State

According to the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia Amendment Act, initiated by the citizens initiative and approved by the people on the referendum on October 14, 15, and 16, 1933, (Riigi Teataja 28.10.1933 No. 86 Article 628) which entered into force on the 100th day after the referendum or 24.01.1934, the Elder of State was the representative of the people who executed the highest administrative power in the State. For governing the State, there was by the Elder of State the Government of the Republic (Section 57) appointed by the Elder of State and chaired by the Prime Minister (Section 64). By the Resolution No. 173 from 12.03.1934 (Riigi Teataja 16.03.1934 No. 22 Art 56), Konstantin Päts declared the state of national emergency for 6 months, which was later prolonged. During the state of national emergency, the elections of the Elder of State were not organised and Konstantin Päts as the Prime Minister acted as the Elder of State.

The Elder of State of the Republic of Estonia

(Elder of State - a direct translation of the Estonian Riigivanem, the offical title of the Estonian Head of State in 1921-1934.)

According to the Estonian Constitution, which was enforced by the "Constitution of the Republic of Estonia, the Referendum Act and the Citizens's Initiative Act Implementation Act" on 02.07.1920, after being approved by the Constituent Assembly on 15.06.1920 (Riigi Teataja 09.08.1920 No. 113/114) the Government of the Republic consisted of the Riigivanem (Elder of State) and Ministers (Section 58). The responsibilities of the Elder of State were representing the Republic of Estonia, administration and co-ordination of the activities of the Government of the Republic, chairing the Government meetings; the Elder of State had the right to make inquiries about the activities of the Ministers (Section 62). The Government of the Republic appointed one of its members the Deputy of the Elder of State.

Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia

In accordance with the Resolution No. 2 from 09.05.1919 of the Government of the Republic of Estonia, the Government approved on the same day by the Constituent Assembly was named "the Government of the Republic of Estonia". The Resolution No. 1 from 09.05.1919 appointed Otto Strandman the Prime Minister and the Minister of War (Riigi Teataja 21.05. 1919 No. 30/31).

Prime Minister of the Provisional Government

24.02.1918, the Provisional Government of the Republic of Estonia was formed by the Order No. 5 of the Salvation Committee (a three-member committee formed by the Estonian Province Assembly as executive body for the time when the activities of the Assembly were hindered) "On the Formation of the Provisional Government". The Provisional Government was lead by Konstantin Päts, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers and the Minister of Internal Affairs (Riigi Teataja (State Gazette)1918/1919 No. 1). By the Resolution of the Council of Elders of the Land Council from 12.11.1918, the membership of the Provisional Government, led by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Internal Affairs Konstantin Päts, was appointed (Riigi Teataja 1918/1919, No. 1).