Draft Constitution of participants in the Estonan War of Independence adopted

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14. October 1933

In a situation where support to the government and main Estonian parties was extremely low, already third referendum on draft Constitution was prepared for. It was the Constitution project of the participants in the Estonian War of Independence, for which they instigated a grand propaganda campaign regardless of the closing down of their organisations. In September, speech rallies were started and the number of these was growing each day. Socialists, communists and even Tõnisson himself made propaganda against the draft.

The fate of the draft was determined by the decision of the Farmers Assemblies to start supporting the draft Constitution of the participants in the Estonian War of Independence as the only old party. At the referendum held on 14-16 October 1933, the draft was victorious with a great majority (73% of voters, 53% of citizens with the right to vote). Right after that, Tõnisson's government resigned and Konstantin Päts formed a transition government (on the photo) until the new elections of the Riigikogu on the basis of the new Constitution.

Although the Constitution of the participants in the Estonian War of Independence was basically an amended version of the 1920 Constitution, in substance, it was a completely new Constitution. Pursuant to this, Estonia got a head of state with extensive powers - the State Elder - who was elected directly by the people. The State Elder was not responsible before the parliament and could not be forced to resign. Instead, the State Elder had the right to dissolve the Riigikogu and the right to veto and the right to decree. He was the highest commander of the defence forces and his competencies included, for example, representation of the state, signing of international agreements, management of domestic and foreign policy and the placement of higher state officials. The number of the ambassadors of the Riigikogu was cut down to 50.

The authorisations of the parliament were extended to four years, but its duties and power decreased significantly. The government led by the Prime Minister executed the decisions of the State Elder and was conclusively responsible to the State Elder, but had to have support from both the State Elder and the parliament. In the new Constitution, the authorisations and rights of executive powers had been significantly increased at the expense of the parliament.

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


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