No. 14




How Laws Were Made in Estonia in the Early Years of Regained Independence

18 December 2006


RiTo No. 14, 2006

  • Moonika Olju

    assistant to the head of the Department of Government, Tallinn University

  • Marika Saar

    specialist in administrative cooperation, Tartu County Government

The article reconstructs the policy-making process of two Estonian legal acts: the Government of the Republic Act and the Local Government Act, which were made 1992–1994.

In the analysis, three different configurations emerged. In the case of the Local Government Act, experts, interest groups, civil servants and politicians participated in the policy making, but the politicians clearly dominated, as they were the decision-makers. In the case of the Government of Republic Act, two configurations emerged. A work group of lawyers, politicians and secretary-generals were the participators in the making of the concept of the draft act, but decisions (except political ones) were made by secretary-generals with the work group. In the making of the draft act, politicians, civil servants, experts and other actors participated in the process during which the work group of lawyers prepared the draft act, but even though final decisions were made by politicians, they only confirmed/dismissed the decisions made by secretary-generals with the work group or relied on the expertise of the work group in making political decisions.

The difference in the configurations may be one of the reasons, why the Local Government Act was passed in the parliament, but the Government of the Republic Act was not. The reason might be that in the first case, the politicians who later passed the law were also the drafters. But in the latter case, the law was drafted by civil servants with secretary-generals, with only passive participation by the politicians.

The authors tried to explain the configurations with the help of the politico-administrative ideal models of Guy Peters, but the analysis revealed, that the ideal models do not help to explain the policy making processes at hand. The main deficiency was that the theory only treats the relations of politicians and civil servants, while as our research revealed that in the policymaking, there are also other important actors, whose relations to each other or to politicians or civil servants could be even more important than the communication between the latter.

Full article in Estonian