Demokraatia jätkusuutlikkuse võimalikkusest Eestis 1933. aasta põhiseaduse järgi



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Tartu Ülikool


Estonia had its first constitution adopted in 1920, just two years after gaining independence. It might not be well known that a new constitution – officially a law for changing the existing constitution – composed by the Estonian Veterans’ League, was adopted by the citizens of Estonia in a referendum in octobre of 1933. Just a few months later, in march 1934, the rightist politician Konstantin Päts made a coup d’état with his fellow general Johan Laidoner. They established an authoritarian dictatorship, not following the new constitution. Thereby, Päts himself declared that this constitution was so poorly composed that it easily led him to take full control of the power. Since a lot of nowadays’ historical approaches of that era are based on the works composed between 1934 and 1991, there have been claims as if the constitution of 1933 was authoritarian or even fascist. This might lead to false interpretations amongst the Estonians today. Therefore it was important to analyse if a democratic regime was possible according to the Veterans’ League’s constitution as they themselves claimed. We took under review different aspects of democracy, also looked at it from a point of view of the constitutional law. Since it was announced by the Veterans’ League that their constitution would have established a presidential democracy, we had to take a look at the risks that would accompany this regime. It was also necessary to take a peek at the Estonian Veterans’ League movement itself, since its policy and goals in Estonia in the 1930s gave an idea, what they were hoping to achieve when changing the constitution. We also saw some opinions of the contemporary lawyers and politicians about the new constitution. Finally, the most important thing was to analyse the changes of the constitution themselves, occasionally comparing them to the current Estonian constitution and the one from 1920. All in all, it could be said that eventhough the constitution of 1933 complied the needed characteristics of democracy, there were some important shortages. The leader of the executive power, the president, would have been elected directly by the citizens of Estonia. But one of the problems was, for example, that he would have had the chance to constitute decrees and therefore soley influence the work of the parliament. So we could say that the continuity of democracy would have been possible according to the constitution of 1933 but would have depended too much on the person elected as the president: he could have legally established an authoritarian-like regime.