Social Democrat Chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski said the party is not divided and Sunday's party council's 35:25 vote to continue in the government simply reflects different opinions in the party.
Ossinovski said the plan was from the beginningto continue with the current coalition members, but to change the agreement between his party, the Reform Party and IRL. “To leave the government just because a partner is not likely, can not be a goal in itself,” he said.
“The vote mirrors our organization's and our voters' different opinions of the current government,” he said, adding that there are people among the party and its electorate who are in principle against the Reform Party.
One of the high-ranking SDE members to resign in protest was Urve Palo, who said she is unwilling to stay in a coalition she branded a comfort coalition for the next three years.
Ossinovski, who is likely to take over her post, said there is some truth in her words, adding that Reform Party minister Kristen Michal also played a great role in Palo's resignation. Ossinovski said Michal blamed Palo for the domestic ferry tender, the idea of which was born before Palo entered office, but which she pushed through.
The procurement to buy new ferries for the service is part of a large-scale corruption investigation.
Eesti Päevaleht reported last week that the party is split between Jevgeni Ossinovski's camp and supporters of former chairman Sven Mikser, who is more pro Reform Party and IRL coalition. MP Andres Anvelt and Urve Palo are Ossinovski's supporters while Mikser has the support of Parliament speaker Eiki Nestor and ministers Rannar Vassiljev and Indrek Saar, the daily reported.
Editor: J.M. Laats