Draft Constitution of the 4th Riigikogu


The formation of the constitutional crisis in Estonia was in many senses a fabricated problem. Some political powers regarded the extremely liberal parliamentary democracy implemented with the 1920 Constitution unsuitable for Estonia.

The main bottleneck of the Constitution was deemed to be the absence of a head of state, which is why the governments were said to be too dependent on the parliament. This is what was thought to be the main reason for the constantly changing governments and long government crises.

Actually, the political situation of Estonia was significantly more stable than that of the neighbouring countries and the frequent changing of the governments was mainly caused by the collapse of coalitions due to the abundance of parties and the disunion of the parliament, not the absence of a state of head. In December 1929 and January 1930, both Farmers' Councils and the People's Party presented State Elder Otto Strandman with the draft Act to amend the Constitution.

The State Elder recommended sending these as a joint draft to the Riigikogu, but in reality, the Constitution was amended only after the breakout of the economic crisis when people's dissatisfaction with current politicians and Constitution deepened greatly due to provocation by participants in the Estonian War of Independence and by Farmers' Councils.

In March 1932, the proceeding of the draft was completed and it was decided to be put up for a public vote in August. Participation in the referendum was made mandatory and the new Constitution was deemed as accepted when achieving more than a half of the votes. According to the draft, Estonia would have obtained a head of state elected by the people, who has limited decree and postponing veto right and the right to announce premature parliamentary elections.

Also, the head of state had to appoint ministers and remove them from office, but the government was still responsible to the parliament in its actions. The authorisations of the Riigikogu were wished to be extended to four years and the number of parliamentary ambassadors cut down to 80. The task of the government would have been the implementation of the decisions of the head of state.

Source: Eesti ajalugu. VI, Vabadussõjast taasiseseisvumiseni. Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2005
Õie Elango, Ants Ruusmann ja Karl Siilivask. Eesti maast ja rahvast: Maailmasõjast maailmasõjani. Tallinn: Olion, 1998
Eesti ajalugu: kronoloogia. Tallinn: Olion, 2007