Is the Estonian Constitution a guarantor for successful democracy?

Estonia regained its independence in 1991. Within only seven months, a new constitution was drafted, which declared as its fundamental principles human dignity, democracy, the rule of law, the social state and the Estonian identity.
Estonia has been rated the best performer of the Freedom House’s survey on the development of democracy in formerly communist countries. However, the 2019 parliamentary elections saw also Estonia’s populist party become a ruling coalition partner.
According to a European comparative research project’s new findings, the Estonian Supreme Court’s judgements are one of the strongest vis-á-vis the national legislative branch. At the same time, the Estonian parliament has been judged weak compared to the government. This became obvious also in the Corona crisis.
The paper takes a closer look at the role the constitution has played in Estonia’s successful democratisation process and considers whether the stability of democracy may depend on constitutional design.