The Constituent Assembly is formed

to map

23. April 1919

In the end of 1918 and the beginning of 1919, Estonia was lead by the Provisional Government, whereas the Provincial Diet, that held the parliamentary rights, was not assembled. Instead, it was decided to elect a new assembly of representatives - The Constituent Assembly, that would create the Estonian constitution and determine other foundations of the state.

Though the organization of the elections was somewhat complicated by the ongoing war, it was still decided to hold them, especially because of the demand of the left-wing politicians. Elections were held on April 5-7, and the clear majority of the votes went to the left-wing parties, while the Prime Minister Päts's party, Estonian Agrarian League got only 8 of the Assembly's 120 seats.

Therefore, on May 9, the Government changed and the Prime Minister's office was taken by Otto Strandman. Following that, the Constituent Assembly passed the Declaration of Estonia's National Independence ( May19) and created the temporary governing structure (the temporary constitution on June 4).

As it was the first real parliament in Estonia, its task was not an easy one. Several democratic ways of conduct had to be introduced. Also, there were often heated debates, especially between Jaan Tõnisson and the representatives of the left-wing parties.

One of the biggest problem solved in the Constitutional Assembly was that of the land. On October 10, 1919, it was decided to nationalize most of the estates in Estonia and divide them into farms. The landlords did not receive any compensation at first, because the predominant left-wing side of the Constitutional Assembly demanded for a radical elimination of the inequalities between the Estonians and the Baltic Germans.

After the Land Law was passed, great controversies rose in the Constitutional Assembly. Those ended with Jaan Tõnisson's government taking office on November t18, 1919.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7c/EstConstAssmb.jpg


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