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Transportation and Telecommunications

Roads: 30,300 kilometers total; 29,200 kilometers with hard surface, 1,100 kilometers unpaved. Bus routes exist to Poland, Germany, and Denmark. Bus and taxi service within Tallinn and surrounding area good. Rental automobiles available.

Railroads: 1,126 kilometers of railroads, of which 132 kilometers electrified (1993). Chief center Tallinn. Main lines link Tallinn with Narva and St. Petersburg, Tartu with Pskov (Russia), and Pärnu with Riga (Latvia). Train service available to Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Warsaw.

Civil Aviation: Service to many international destinations from Ulemiste International Airport at Tallinn, as well as domestic flights to Estonian islands. National carrier Estonian Air, which had sixteen former Soviet aircraft in 1992 and operated flights to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Kiev, Minsk, Moscow, Riga, St. Petersburg, Sochi (Russia), Stockholm, and Vilnius. Service also provided by Aeroflot, Drakk Air Lines, Finnair, Lithuanian Airlines, Lufthansa, and SAS (Scandi-navian Airlines).

Shipping: 500 kilometers of inland waterways navigable year round. Inland port Narva; maritime ports Pärnu and Tallinn. Twenty main ports, but Tallinn handles four-fifths of ocean-going transport. Ice-free port of Muuga, near Tallinn, is underused modern facility with good transshipment capability, high-capacity grain elevator, refrigerated/frozen storage, and oil tanker off-loading facilities. Excellent Tallinn-Helsinki and Tallinn-Stockholm ferry links exist year round.

Telecommunications: One television set per 2.6 persons; one radio per 1.7 persons; one telephone per 3.9 persons. Three radio stations and three television stations.

Government and Politics

Government: Parliamentary democracy. President, elected for term of five years, is head of state and supreme commander of armed forces. Riigikogu (parliament), with 101 members, has broad organizational legislative functions. Members elected in direct elections for term of four years. Candidate for prime minister forms new government (no more than fifteen ministers) after Riigikogu has approved basis for its formation; after selection, president formally appoints government, which has executive power.

Judicial System: Post-Soviet criminal code introduced in 1992, based on civil law system, with no judicial review of legislative acts. Death penalty retained for murder and terrorism. Legal chancellor, appointed by Riigikogu, provides guidance on constitutionality of laws but has no powers of adjudication. Criminal justice administered by local first-level courts as well as second-level appellate courts. Final appeal may be made to National Court, which sits in Tartu. Court system comprises rural and city, as well as administrative, courts (first-level); district courts (second-level); and National Court, highest court in land.

Politics: First post-Soviet elections, held in September 1992, yielded center-right coalition government led by Fatherland Party (Isamaa). Isamaa-led coalition disintegrated in June 1994. Center-left Coalition Party-Rural Union Alliance vic-torious in March 1995 elections.

Administrative Divisions: Fifteen counties (maakonnad), subdivided into 255 local administrative units, of which forty-two are towns and 213 are townships (vald).

Foreign Relations: In September 1991, Estonia joined United Nations (UN) and Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (in January 1995, name changed to Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) and is a signatory to a number of UN organizations and other international agree-ments. In February 1994, Estonia joined Partnership for Peace program of North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Member of Council of Europe and Council of the Baltic Sea States. Coop-eration with European Union includes significant economic aid as well as talks on a free-trade agreement. Relations with Russia remain cool.

Data as of January 1995

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Estonia Table of Contents