Estonia is a multiparty, constitutional democracy with a unicameral parliament, a prime minister as head of government, and a president as head of state. The prime minister and cabinet generally represent the party or coalition of parties with a majority of seats in the parliament. The most recent parliamentary elections took place in March 2015, with a coalition government taking office the following month. Prime Minister Taavi Roivas led the government composed of three parties: Reform, Social Democrats, and Pro Patria and Res Publica Union. Observers considered the elections free and fair. Prime Minister Taavi Roivas resigned in November following a no-confidence vote. A new Center Party-led coalition government took office November 23, joined by the Social Democrat Party and Pro Patria and Res Publica Union, with Center Party Chair Juri Ratas as prime minister.
Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces.
There were no reports of egregious human rights abuses.
Human rights problems reported during the year included a few allegations of excessive use of police force during arrests, poor conditions in some detention centers, and the situation facing a large number of noncitizen residents whose rate of naturalization remained low. Other problems included: domestic violence; salary inequality between women and men; incidents of child abuse; trafficking, primarily of women for sexual exploitation and of both men and women for forced labor elsewhere in the EU; inadequate access to public services by persons with disabilities, especially in rural areas; and harassment and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons, which reportedly remained routine within society.
The government took steps to investigate, prosecute, and punish officials who committed violations.