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Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political Process

The law provides citizens the ability to choose their government in free and fair periodic elections held by secret ballot and based on universal and equal suffrage. According to the constitution, if a government resigns, the president may appoint a new candidate for prime minister as well as to appoint or release from office members of the government without declaring elections.

Elections and Political Participation

Recent Elections: Parliamentary elections in March 2015 were free and fair and led to the formation of a three‑party coalition government comprising the Reform Party, Social Democrat Party (SDE), and Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL). Due to a vote of no confidence in parliament (that included support of coalition partners SDE and IRL), the Reform-led coalition dissolved, and Prime Minister Taavi Roivas stepped down in November. In accordance with the constitution, the president gave Center Party leader Juri Ratas the mandate to form a new coalition, consisting of the Center Party, SDE, and IRL; Ratas has led that coalition as prime minister since November 23.

Participation of Women and Minorities: The law prohibits noncitizen residents from organizing or joining political parties. Noncitizens who are long-term residents may vote in local elections but cannot vote in national elections or hold public office. No laws limit the participation of women, and they participated in the political process.

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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future