The Social Democratic Party (SDE) are aiming to win 15 seats at the Riigikogu elections in March, party leader, Minister of the Interior Lauri Läänemets told ERR on Saturday. He also said Narva's Soviet-era tank monument should be moved.
The new coalition agreement between the Reform Party, Isamaa and SDE, set to ramp up welfare spending, shows that the time of the so-called thin state is over, the minister said.
SDE plans to increase its number of seats at the elections from 10 to 15 and will focus on issues related to work, raising wages and buying a home.
In recent weeks, the party's popularity has risen, several polls show.
"Considering that voters have recognized the work done by the Social Democrats during the coalition negotiations and our rating has risen, our goal cannot be anything other than at least 15 seats in the election next spring. Here, and going forward, our program will be such to make it possible for voters to give us their support," Läänemets said, speaking at a party meeting.
The minister said he plans to visit Narva on Monday where we will meet with Mayor Katri Raik and visit the Soviet-era Tank T-34 monument, which has become a contentious issue.
Asked what should happen to the structure, he said he agreed with the majority of the Estonian people on this issue – it is a symbol of aggression and of a neighboring country that is a security threat.
"A tank should not be a monument in Estonia. I think that this tank should not be included in Estonia's public space in this form," the minister said.
Läänemets said he is waiting for proposals from the Government Office's new occupation monuments committee about how to proceed. The issue must be solved in a dignified way as it is a memorial for some people in Estonia, he told ERR.
The SDE chairman said Narva council also needs to resolve the issue, not just the mayor. Läänemets said he is looking forward to hearing the council opposition Center Party's view.
If the council cannot find a solution, then the government will step in, he said.
Editor: Helen Wright