Chapter V The President of the Republic

§ 77. The President of the Republic is the head of state of Estonia.

§ 78.The President of the Republic shall:

  1. represent the Republic of Estonia in international relations;
  2. appoint and recall diplomatic agents of the Republic of Estonia, on the proposal of the Government of the Republic, and receive the credentials of diplomatic agents accredited to Estonia;
  3. declare regular elections to the Riigikogu and, pursuant to §§ 89, 97, 105 and 119 of the Constitution, extraordinary elections to the Riigikogu;
  4. convene the new membership of the Riigikogu, pursuant to § 66 of the Constitution, and open its first session;
  5. propose to the Chairman of the Riigikogu to convene an extra-ordinary session of the Riigikogu, pursuant to § 68 of the Constitution;
  6. proclaim laws, pursuant to §§ 105 and 107 of the Constitution, and sign instruments of ratification;
  7. issue decrees, pursuant to §§ 109 and 110 of the Constitution;
  8. initiate amendment of the Constitution;
  9. designate the candidate for Prime Minister, pursuant to § 89 of the Constitution;
  10. appoint to and release from office members of the Government, pursuant to §§ 89, 90, and 92 of the Constitution;
  11. make proposals to the Riigikogu for appointments to the offices of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Estonia, Auditor General, Legal Chancellor, and Commander or Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces;
  12. on the proposal of the Board of the Bank of Estonia, appoint to office the President of the Bank of Estonia;
  13. on the proposal of the Supreme Court, appoint judges;
  14. on the proposal of the Government of the Republic and the Commander of the Defence Forces, appoint to and release from office the leadership of the Defence Forces;
  15. confer state awards, and military and diplomatic ranks;
  16. be the supreme commander of the national defence of Estonia;
  17. make proposals to the Riigikogu to declare a state of war, to order mobilization and demobilization, and, pursuant to § 129 of the Constitution, to declare a state of emergency;
  18. declare, in the case of aggression against Estonia, a state of war, order mobilization, and appoint the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces, pursuant to § 128 of the Constitution;
  19. by way of clemency, release or grant commutation to convicted offenders at their request;
  20. initiate the bringing of criminal charges against the Legal Chancellor, pursuant to § 145 of the Constitution.

§ 79. The President of the Republic shall be elected by the Riigikogu, or, in the case provided by paragraph four of this section, by an electoral body.

The right to nominate a candidate for President of the Republic rests with not less than one-fifth of the membership of the Riigikogu.

An Estonian citizen by birth who has attained forty years of age may be nominated as a candidate for President of the Republic.

The President of the Republic shall be elected by secret ballot. Each member of the Riigikogu shall have one vote. A candidate in favour of whom a two-thirds majority of the membership of the Riigikogu votes shall be considered elected. If no candidate receives the required majority, a new round of voting shall be held on the next day. Before the second round of voting, a new nomination of candidates shall be held. If no candidate receives the required majority in the second round of voting, a third round of voting shall be held on the same day between the two candidates who receive the greatest number of votes in the second round. If the President of the Republic is still not elected in the third round of voting, the Chairman of the Riigikogu shall, within one month, convene an electoral body to elect the President of the Republic.

The electoral body shall be comprised of members of the Riigikogu and representatives of the local government councils. Each local government council shall elect at least one representative to the electoral body, who must be an Estonian citizen.

The Riigikogu shall present the two candidates who receive the greatest number of votes in the Riigikogu to the electoral body as candidates for President. The rig-t to nominate a candidate for President also rests with not less than twenty-one members of the electoral body.

The electoral body shall elect the President of the Republic by a majority of the voting electoral body members. If no candidate is elected in the first round, a second round of voting shall be held on the same day between the two candidates who receive the greatest number of votes.

The specific procedure for the election of the President of the Republic shall be provided by the President of the Republic Election Act. 

§ 80. 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.

The regular election of the President of the Republic shall be held not earlier than sixty and not later than ten days before the end of the term of office of the President of the Republic.

§ 81. The President of the Republic shall assume office by swearing the following oath of office to the people of Estonia before the Riigikogu: “In assuming the office of President of the Republic, I (given name and surname), solemnly swear to steadfastly defend the Consti-tution and the laws of the Republic of Estonia, to exercise the power entrusted to me in a just and impartial manner, and to faithfully perform my duties with all of my abilities and to the best of my under-standing, for the benefit of the people of Estonia and the Republic of Estonia.”

§ 82. The powers of the President of the Republic shall terminate upon:

  1. his or her resignation from office;
  2. the entry into force of a conviction by a court against him or her;
  3. his or her death;
  4. the assumption of office of the new President of the Republic.

§ 83. If the President of the Republic is incapable of performing his or her duties for an extended period as decided by the Supreme Court, or if he or she is temporarily unable to perform them as in the cases specified by law, or if his or her powers have terminated prematurely, then his or her duties shall temporarily transfer to the Chairman of the Riigikogu.

During the time that the Chairman of the Riigikogu is performing the duties of the President of the Republic, his or her authority as a member of the Riigikogu shall be suspended.

The Chairman of the Riigikogu, acting as President of the Republic, does not have the right, without the consent of the Supreme Court, to declare extraordinary elections to the Riigikogu or to refuse to proclaim laws.

If the President of the Republic is unable to perform his or her official duties for longer than three consecutive months, or if his or her powers terminate prematurely, the Riigikogu shall elect a new President of the Republic within fourteen days, pursuant to § 79 of the Constitution.

§ 84. Upon assuming office, the authority and duties of the President of the Republic in all elected and appointed offices shall terminate, and he or she shall suspend his or her membership in political parties for the duration of his or her term of office. 

§ 85. Criminal charges may be brought against the President of the Republic only on the proposal of the Legal Chancellor, and with the consent of the majority of the membership of the Riigikogu.

Additional information: | Compiled by: State Gazette