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. Parliamentary elections took place on March 1, and on April 9, a new coalition government took office. It was led by the incumbent prime minister, Taavi Roivas, and composed of the Reform and Social Democratic parties and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union. The elections were considered free and fair. 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 allegations that police at times used excessive force when arresting suspects, poor conditions in some detention centers, and a large number of noncitizen residents whose rate of naturalization remained low. Other problems included domestic violence; inequality of women’s and men’s salaries; incidents of child abuse; trafficking, primarily of women for sexual exploitation and 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.