Sweden’s foreign minister Carl Bildt has received a letter of thanks from the Cuban dissident group Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White) after his recent criticism at the United Nations of the Cuban government’s violations of human rights.
Estonia’s new centre-right government has been sworn in, the IHT reports.
The official government handout:
Fact Sheet April 2007
Press and Information Department, Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Islandi väljak 1, Tallinn 15049, Estonia
Tel. +372 637 7600, Fax +372 637 7617, E-mail: email@example.com
The current Estonian Government is a coalition of the Reform Party, the Pro Partia and Res Publica Union and the Social Democratic Party. The new Government was formed after the 4 March 2007 regular parliamentary elections. President Toomas Hendrik Ilves called Andrus Ansip, chairman of the Reform Party that won the elections, to be the next PM. Mr Ansip received the necessary majority of 62 votes from Estonia’s 101-member parliament (Riigikogu) to form a new Government.
The Reform Party (R) has 6, the Pro Partia and Res Publica Union (PPRP) 5 and the Social Democratic Party (SD) 3 ministers in the Government.
Positions on 5 April 2007, after taking the oath of office before the Riigikogu.
Prime Minister Mr Andrus Ansip R
Minister of Defence Mr Jaak Aaviksoo PPRP
Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Urmas Paet R
Minister of Education and Research Mr Tõnis Lukas PPRP
Minister of Justice Mr Rein Lang R
Minister of Environment Mr Jaanus Tamkivi R
Minister of Culture Ms Laine Jänes R
Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Mr Juhan Parts PPRP
Minister of Agriculture Mr Helir-Valdor Seeder PPRP
Minister of Finance Mr Ivari Padar SD
Minister of the Interior Mr Jüri Pihl SD
Minister of Social Affairs Ms Maret Maripuu R
Minister of Regional Affairs Mr Vallo Reimaa PPRP
Minister for Population and Ethnic Affairs Ms Urve Palo SD
The executive power of the state – the Government – is responsible to the Riigikogu (Parliament). Appointment to the office of the Prime Minister and withdrawal of the Government lies within the competence of the parliament. The Government also enjoys a stabilising guarantee – the right to dismiss the Riigikogu with the consent of the President and call new elections if the Riigikogu expresses no confidence in the Government.
The Government (cabinet) consists of the Prime Minister and Ministers.
The Constitution defines the areas of responsibility of the Government as the following:
• Implementation of domestic and foreign policies;
• direction and co-ordination of the work of government institutions;
• organisation and implementation of legislation, the resolutions of the Riigikogu, and edicts of the President;
• submitting of bills and international treaties to the Riigikogu;
• preparation of drafts of the state budget;
• implementation of, and reporting on, the budget;
• management of relations with foreign states.
How the Government is appointed:
The President nominates the Prime Minister who then forms a Government. If the President’s candidate(s) fail(s) to form a Government (the Constitution permits the President two nominations), the Riigikogu will name a Prime Minister to form a government.
The Prime Minister alone nominates the ministers who are formally appointed by the President and swear an oath before the Riigikogu.
Government members do not need to be members of the Riigikogu or have any political party affiliation. However, the selection of the Prime Minister, the formation of a working Government and the success of a legislative programme depend on co-operation with Parliament.
A Government can resign due to any of three reasons: the death or resignation of the Prime Minister, a vote of no-confidence by the Riigikogu in the Government, or the election of a new parliament.
The national elections, since the re-establishment of independence, were held on 20 September 1992, on 5 March 1995, on 7 March 1999, on 2 March 2003, on 4 March 2007. The next regular elections will take place on 6 March 2011.