The 120 members of the Constituent Assembly, who had been elected by the people, convened for the first time on 23 April 1919. This assembly and the Riigikogu elected on the last elections are united most of all by their faith and love towards the people of Estonia.
The most important task of the Constituent Assembly was drafting of the Constitution. I am firmly convinced that the current Constitution is the best law in force in the Republic of Estonia, and its most important provisions came from our Declaration of Independence. We have a proportional election system, which is the most honest way for ascertaining the positions of the voters. Yes, it is a complicated way, but is ensures that none of the views in the society that cross the election threshold remain behind the doors of the elected assembly.
Both the Constituent Assembly and the Riigikogu have devoted much of their time to property issues. The Land Act passed in 1919 was subject to many arguments, just like the ownership reform started by the Supreme Council and passed by the Riigikogu. It is hard to believe that anybody could ever find such a powerful election promise as the members of my party gave – the land of German estates to our peasants.
In one aspect, the compositions of the Constituent Assembly and the 7th Riigikogu elected in 1992 are similar, and different from today’s compositions. The beginners had more spirit and enthusiasm, they were building up the state. There were no Gallup polls, actually nobody cared about them, because it was believed that if you worked faithfully, votes would be gained at the elections. In later times, there has been more pragmatism and professionalism.
Without allies, we would not have been successful in the War of Independence. And when the wish of the countries to solve their problems together crumbled, we lost our independence. Unfortunately, this lesson of history has to be repeated time and again. Unlike in 1919, our allied relationships are stronger, because the countries of the world have become wiser through one painful lesson. Our independence today is founded on international agreements and the cooperation of like-minded countries.
Long live the Republic of Estonia and parliamentary democracy!