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Head of State of Estonia

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Head of State of Estonia

The Head of State of Estonia or State Elder (Estonian: Riigivanem) (a literal translation: Elder of State) was the official title of the Estonian head of state and head of government from 1920 to 1937. He was the equivalent of a prime minister, who also had the duties of a president. With the 1934 constitution, the institution saw a reform and it became the equivalent of a president only as a separate head of government was to be elected. The 1934 coup by Konstantin Päts resulted in the institution never coming to real life as he ruled as the Prime Minister in Duties of the Head of State until 1937.

According to the 1920 Estonian Constitution, which was enforced by the “Constitution of the Republic of Estonia, the Referendum Act and the Citizens’s Initiative Act Implementation Act“ on July 2, 1920, after being approved by the Constituent Assembly on June 16, 1920 (Riigi Teataja August 9, 1920 No. 113/114), the Government of the Republic consisted of the Riigivanem (Head of State) and Ministers (Section 58).

The responsibilities of the Head of State were representing the Republic of Estonia, administration and co-ordination of the activities of the Government of the Republic, chairing the Government meetings; the Head of State had the right to make inquiries about the activities of the Ministers (Section 62). The Government of the Republic appointed one of its members the Deputy of the Elder of State.

Heads of State of the Republic of Estonia, 1920–1934

Portrait Name Term of Office Political Party Cabinet Legislature Separate
Head of State
Took Office Left Office Days
Ants Piip
1st State Elder
20 December 1920 25 January 1921 37 Labour Party
I Riigikogu
Konstantin Päts
2nd State Elder
25 January 1921 21 November 1922 666 Farmers' Assemblies
Päts I
Juhan Kukk
3rd State Elder
21 November 1922 2 August 1923 255 Labour Party
Konstantin Päts
4th State Elder
(2nd term)
2 August 1923 26 March 1924 238 Farmers' Assemblies
Päts II
II Riigikogu
Friedrich Karl Akel
5th State Elder
26 March 1924 16 December 1924 266 Christian People's Party
Jüri Jaakson
6th State Elder
16 December 1924 15 December 1925 365 People's Party
Jaan Teemant
7th State Elder
15 December 1925 9 December 1927 725 Farmers' Assemblies
Teemant I
Teemant II
III Riigikogu (1926)
Teemant III
Jaan Tõnisson
8th State Elder
9 December 1927 4 December 1928 362 People's Party
Tõnisson III
August Rei
9th State Elder
4 December 1928 9 July 1929 218 Estonian Socialist Workers' Party
Otto August Strandman
10th State Elder
9 July 1929 12 February 1931 584 Labour Party
Strandman II
IV Riigikogu
Konstantin Päts
11th State Elder
(3rd term)
12 February 1931 19 February 1932 373 Farmers' Assemblies
Päts III
Jaan Teemant
12th State Elder
(2nd term)
19 February 1932 19 July 1932 152 Union of Settlers and Smallholders
Teemant IV
Karl August Einbund
13th State Elder
19 July 1932 1 November 1932 106 Union of Settlers and Smallholders
Einbund I
V Riigikogu
Konstantin Päts
14th State Elder
(4th term)
1 November 1932 18 May 1933 199 Union of Settlers and Smallholders
Päts IV
Jaan Tõnisson
15th State Elder
(2nd term)
18 May 1933 21 October 1933 157 National Centre Party
Tõnisson IV
Konstantin Päts
16th State Elder
(5th term)
21 October 1933 24 January 1934 96 Union of Settlers and Smallholders
Päts V
non-party coalition

Head of State of the Republic of Estonia, 1934–1937

Portrait Name Term of Office Political Party Cabinet Legislature Separate
Head of Government
Took Office Left Office Days
Konstantin Päts
Prime Minister
in duties of the State Elder
24 January 1934 3 September 1937 1,319 Union of Settlers and Smallholders
Päts V
non-party coalition
V Riigikogu
Prime Minister
(in duties of
the State Elder)

Patriotic League

See also

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