Estonia Unitary state


Structures and competences

Local level :
183 rural municipalities (vald) and 30 cities (linn)

The municipal council (volikogu) is the municipality’s legislative body and is composed of members, whose number varies according to the demographic size of the local governement, elected by direct universal suffrage for four years. The municipal council appoints and may dismiss the council chair as well as the mayor. It is assisted in its work by sector-based commissions.

The local government (valitsus) is the municipality’s executive body. It is composed of the mayor and of members appointed by the mayor, following the council’s approval. Members of the local government cannot sit on the municipal council.

The mayor (vallavanem in rural municipalities and linnapea in cities) is appointed by the municipal council for a four-year term. He/she is the representative of the local government but cannot be the municipal council chair.


  • Municipal budget
  • Education
  • Social welfare
  • Health services
  • Culture, leisure and sports
  • Social housing
  • Urban and rural planning
  • Tourism
  • Public transport
  • Water supply, sewage, public lighting and central heating
  • Environment
  • Waste collection and disposal
  • Road and cemetery maintenance
  • Local taxes