SDE in internal turmoil, says daily

Jevgeni Ossinovski and Sven Mikser (Postimees/Scanpix)
8/28/2015 4:58 PM
Category: Politics

Daily Eesti Päevaleht reports that the Social Democrats are split on wheather to stay or leave the coalition, with the on camp being led by new head Jevgeni Ossinovski, the other by the previous party chairman, Sven Mikser.

Ossinovski became more popular in the party by criticizing the April coalition agreement between the Reform Party, the Social Democrats (SDE) and IRL, Eesti Päevaleht reported.

Shortly after Ossinovski was elected to head the Social Democrats, with Mikser pulling out of the race, but now the former chairman has began to speak out against Ossinovski, saying SDE has a choice of the current coalition or the opposition, and that Ossinovski meeting Center Party leaders to discuss potential cooperation is in bad taste, considering the party is already in power.

Ossinovski, in turn, has called the coalition agreement not social democratic enough, and the party's congress will vote on whether to continue in the coalition at a meeting on Sunday.

Ossinovski is backed by entrepreneurship minister Urve Palo and now also Andres Anvelt, who has switched sides from Mikser's camp, which includes Parliament speaker Eiki Nestor, health and labor minister Rannar Vassiljev and culture minister Indrek Saar.

The Reform Party has seen its fair share of internal conflict with one side, spearheaded by Rain Rosimannus out-playing Siim Kallas to push Taavi Rõivas into the party's top spot. IRL has had more recent troubles with Urmas Reinsalu resigning due to disappointing election results. IRL recently elected Margus Tsahkna, neutral in the feud between Reinsalu, Juhan Parts and Ken-Marti Vaher, dubbed “the boy band” versus Tõnis Palts, Marko Mihkelson and Priit Sibul.

The Center Party remains the only large party in Parliament with relatively quite internal politics. Few members have criticized Edgar Savisaar for staying too long as party head, but party remained strong while he was away on a four-month sick leave.

Possible coalitions

If SDE does decide to leave the coalition there will be only a few viable alternatives as any coalition would need the backing of either the Reform Party (30 seats) or IRL (14 seats). SDE (15 seats) with the Center Party (27 seats) would be nowhere near the 51 votes needed, and even with the Free Party (8 seats), it would have only 50 votes. All other parties have refused to cooperate with EKRE (7 seats), leaving the most likely alternative a Reform Party-IRL-Free Party coalition, which would have 52 seats.

A Reform Party-Center Party coalition (combined 57 seats) could also happen, but the Reform Party, as well as IRL and the Free Party, and many SDE members, have refused to cooperate with a Edgar Savisaar-led Center Party. IRL is unlikely to work with the Center Party at all.

J.M. Laats

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