Two-time minister and former Social Democratic Party (SDE) leader Eiki Nestor admits that Social Democrats have been slow and their approval rating, which hovers around 10 percent, is not high enough. While not being active in politics currently, Nestor still sits on the Social Democratic Party board.
Editor's note: Nestor was speaking to ERR journalist Toomas Sildnam and the questions and answers below are an extract from a longer interview.
Estonia 200 (Eesti 200) are a non-parliamentary party. They narrowly missed gaining a seat in the Riigikogu after the party failed to reach the 5 percent threshold at the March 2019 election.
Eiki Nestor, what's wrong with the Social Democrats?
(Pauses) It goes further than just Social Democrats.
There have been two changes in politics that should not have happened. Crisis management should have improved the ratings of coalition parties...
Which it did not.
It did not. The reason being is that when going into the emergency situation, everything was understandable, but exiting the situation was... We had at least five different heads of the emergency situation and every one of them had different dates, the actual head (PM Jüri Ratas - ed.) was giving out interviews, saying that we will wait and see, talk to specialists - then it turned out there is more than one virologist in the government, everyone had their own stances and it became ridiculous.
But that mistake is currently seen in Estonia 200's approval.
The supporters [of Estonia 200] are people who would not vote for today's coalition but would also not vote for Reform Party or Social Democrats because they believe that if Estonia 20 was in the Riigikogu, they could bring down the government.
Even though that dream has no foundation, it is a criticism towards Reform and Social Democrats. Different, more powerful leadership is in demand.
In demand by who?
Those who do not support the current government.
I think we (Social Democrats - ed.) have been too polite, too careful, we have waited too long, discussed everything, and then we say and do.
Not that that is a negative in politics but the opposition could react faster in some cases. I see reaction time as the largest point of concern.
And since nonsupporters of current government do not see the opposition parties bringing down government, Estonia 20 has gained approval. But they say even less and do even less, although they do not have the chance to do anything at all because they are not in government at all.
Meaning, Reform and Social Democrats are not as believable as an alternative to the current coalition?
Yes, people do not believe that they (the opposition - ed.) are capable of bringing down the government. But I think that is the main wish of opposition voters... That this nonsense would end.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste