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SDE accepts Reform Party's invite to coalition negotiations

SDE leader Lauri Läänemets.
SDE leader Lauri Läänemets. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE) has accepted the Reform Party's invitation to form up a coalition. According to Lauri Läänemets, the chairman of the party, Estonia needs a polite but competent and reliable government.

"The SDE is ready to work for a government coalition which would give Estonia security," Läänemets said, following a combined meeting of the party's MPs and its board, on Saturday. 

"The fractious situation caused by external factors requires a strong and constructive government. In view of the difficult upcoming autumn and winter, and rising energy prices, SDE has a moral obligation to provide solutions at the government level that will protect the lives of the Estonian population in difficult times. The state is protected when an individual is protected" Läänemets went on.

"Our decision today will hardly come as a surprise to anyone. We are doing exactly what our members, voters and, in fact, society at large would expect from the SDE board," Läänemets said.

SDE also approved its negotiating delegation for the talks, which will consist of: Party Secretary General Eduard Odinets, its deputy chair, Riina Sikkut, and board members Anto Liivat, Jevgeni Ossinovski, Indrek Saar and Peep Peterson.

The current security crisis in addition to the energy and inflation crisis only serve to heighten urgency, Läänemets, who became SDE leader in February replacing Indrek Saar, went on.

With other coalition partners, SDE could offer the public a "boringly polite, but responsible and competent, government," the SDE leader added.

Following her dismissal of the Center Party's seven ministers on Friday afternoon, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said that she and the party wanted to enter coalition negotiations with the left-leaning SDE and another opposition party, the national conservative Isamaa.

Such an alignment would have at least 55 MPs at the 101-seat Riigikogu, enough for a majority, and was last seen in office in November 2016

Reform and SDE last negotiated following the March 2019 general election, at which Reform won the largest number of seats, at 34, but this was insufficient to reach a majority.

The Center Party, via outgoing health minister Tanel Kiik, has also been wooing Isamaa in the wake of the dissolution of the Reform/Center coalition, while Isamaa's leader, Helir-Valdor Seeder, has given mixed messages on what the party's next step might be – saying that the prime minister should resign, while, earlier on Friday before her dismissal of the Center ministers was made public, saying that Isamaa did not have so much in common with the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and Center as might be thought.

In any event, Isamaa's board and MPs are set to convene Monday to discuss Reform's offer.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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