No. 39



Principal Problems of the Rules of Procedure of the Estonian Riigikogu

  • Jüri Adams

    Jüri Adams

    Member of the 7th, 8th, 9th and 13th Riigikogu; co-author of the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia

Historically, Estonia has been part of the German legal space. The Estonian parliamentarism was basically established on German models. The main terminology for parliamentary activities also developed as translations of corresponding German terms. From the point of view of the Estonian language, they are not always adequate and tend to create confusion nowadays.

During the first independence period of Estonia (1918–1940), several different parliamentary assemblies were active in Estonia. As a consequence, there were a number of rules of procedure and experiences in using them. The annexation by the Soviet Union disrupted all earlier traditions. In the years of fights for the restoration of independence and reorganisation, there were attempts to partially exploit the pre-war experiences. However, in the last representative body of the Soviet Republic, the 12th Supreme Council (1990–1992), a practice developed that was based on blending various traditions – the Russian-Soviet façade-democracy and Estonia’s pre-war experiences.

The rules of procedure and rules that had developed by the end of the 12th Supreme Council were handed down to the parliament that began its work after the restoration of Estonia’s independence – the 7th Riigikogu. For six weeks (5 October 1992 – 16 November 1992) such temporary rules of procedure were in force, until the Riigikogu established the rules of procedure that it had approved, which unfortunately were not significantly different from those inherited from the Supreme Council.