Government of the Republic

The Government of the Republic exercises executive power. The members of the Government of the Republic are the Prime Minister and ministers.

The Government of the Republic directs and coordinates the activities of governmental authorities. The governmental authorities are ministries, the Government Office, county governments, executive agencies and inspectorates, and their local agencies with the authority to exercise executive power.

The Government of the Republic makes decisions within its power at government sessions.

Formation of Government

After the Government has resigned, the President of the Republic has fourteen days to appoint a candidate for Prime Minister and give the task of forming a new Government.

Within fourteen days after the receipt of this task, the candidate for Prime Minister presents the principles of the formation of a new Government to the Estonian Parliament (hereinafter the Riigikogu), after which the Riigikogu decides whether to authorise the candidate for Prime Minister to form the Government or not.

Having received the authority, the candidate for Prime Minister has seven days to present the membership of the Government to the President of the Republic, who then appoints the Government to office within three days.

If the candidate for Prime Minister nominated by the President of the Republic fails to receive a majority of the votes cast in the Riigikogu, or is unable or declines to form the Government, the President of the Republic is entitled, within seven days, to nominate another candidate for Prime Minister.

The Government assumes office by taking an oath in front of the Riigikogu and the authority of the resigned Government terminates.


Ministries are established to manage the areas of government. Every ministry receives control over a specific field of life. A ministry is headed by a minister, who is a member of the Government of the Republic.

The work of the structural units of a ministry is directed by the secretary general of the ministry, who also coordinates the activities of state authorities within the area of government of the ministry and manages the operations of the ministry.

There are 11 ministries in Estonia. Every ministry performs the functions provided by law and assigned by the Government of the Republic and serves as the superior body of executive agencies and inspectorates and of other state authorities within its area of government.

Government Office

The Government and the Prime Minister are supported by the Government Office, which is headed by the Secretary of State who is appointed to and released from office by an order of the Prime Minister. The Secretary of State directs the work of the Government of the Republic.

The Government Office supports the planning of the work of the Government, drafts the action programme of the Government and coordinates its implementation, prepares and organises the sessions of the Government and cabinet meetings, ensures the compliance of the draft legislation of the Government with the Constitution and other laws, coordinates the forming of the positions of Estonia, and advises and supports the Prime Minister in European Union affairs. The Government Office also organises public relations for the government and the Prime Minister and internal public relations work related to the European Union, advises the Prime Minister on national security, organises the work of the Government Security Committee and manages the coordination of national security and defence management.

Additionally, the Government Office advises and supports the Prime Minister in heading the work of the Research and Development Council, and manages the recruitment, selection and development of top-level public servants. Government Office also organises matters related to state and local government insignia and performs other obligations imposed on it by legislation and other legal acts.

Compiled by: Government Office