SDE member: Social Democrats not on top of its game

Jevgeni Ossinovski.
Jevgeni Ossinovski. Source: ERR

Social Democratic Party (SDE) MP Jevgeni Ossinovski say, with reference to party ratings and election results, that the support for parties is in fact fluctuating. He added that even though in the general political world, new forces have emerged, the Social Democrats haven't been on their top game.

"Currently that is the situation and it has its objective reasons. The Social Democrats have definitely had difficult times. Over the last two years, while we've been in the opposition, there has been a hope that the party will create a stronger value proposition to the public, what we stand for, where are we headed. Our voice hasn't been clear in that sense and it's one of the reasons why the party is choosing a new leader on February 5," he said.

"Self-critically we can't say in that situation that others are like this and that's the reason. We have to look in the mirror and admit that we haven't been at the top of our game," he said.

Ossinovski noted that the party has its core 10 percent of supporters, but the party can't be satisfied with just that.

"The position of the Chairman of the Tallinn Council is not less important than that of a member of the Riigikogu," Ossinovski, who took on that post a week ago and so had to leave parliament, continued.

Regarding his new appointment, Ossinovski said that both this and an MPs role are important.

"Considering the size and importance of Tallinn both in the political sense and in the development of Estonia, there is no way to say that the position of the Chairman of the Tallinn City Council or executive offices in the Tallinn City Government is in any way less important in political terms than being a member of the Riigikogu," he said.

"For the first time, the Social Democrats have joined the coalition in Tallinn. It is a very big task for us to bring about these positive changes," he added.

When Ossinovksi was asked why Raimond Kaljulaid, the party's front-runner candidate in Tallinn, hadn't become the chairman of the council instead, Ossinovski said that it was the party's own decision, not the result of pressure from the Center Party (Kaljulaid is an ex-Center Party member-ed.).

"This is what we decided on in the team. We considered the different circumstances on the board regarding the personnel. "It's not easy. We tried to include political experience and also experience in leading on a state level. We know that forming a coalition with the Center Party in Tallinn won't be easy. It's not an assessment of a coalition partner, we have good cooperation, but I believe that I can add value with my political experience here. We discussed the matter with Raimond Kaljulaid and he wanted to continue in the Riigikogu," Ossinovski said.

He added that there were more disputes in the negotiations of the coalition agreement on important issues, such as transport and urban space, in which the partners have different views. He acknowledged that it was not possible to get all his wishes into the coalition agreement.

"The coalition agreement often contains almost four years of activities that will be undertaken. From our point of view, the Tallinn coalition agreement is not the endpoint of this path, but the starting point. It is true that, as it works in coalitions, it is not possible to agree on everything that one partner considers important."


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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