Peterson may be SDE's top Pärnu County candidate in Riigikogu elections

Peep Peterson (SDE).
Peep Peterson (SDE). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Minister of Health and Labor Peep Peterson (SDE) may end up running in the 2023 Riigikogu elections as the Social Democrats' top candidate in Pärnu County. Peterson is to discuss the possibility with leaders of the SDE's Pärnu County chapter on Monday.

Peterson confirmed to ERR on Monday that he would be prepared to run for election as the SDE's top candidate in Pärnu County if that is what the party wants.

"I will help out wherever appropriate," he said. "We already have very strong candidates in Tartu, and it looks like [we have] strong candidates in Ida-Viru County as well. Perhaps Pärnu would make sense."

According to the minister, Tartu is his hometown, and his relatives and whole life are located there. "I have a lot of good friends and acquaintances in Ida-Viru County, as well as strong union structures," he continued. "And Pärnu is a perfectly acceptable choice as well. We'll be discussing tonight whether this is a good idea, and whether the chapter likes the idea or whether we'll keep thinking."

Peterson is scheduled to meet with the board of SDE's Pärnu County chapter in Pärnu on Monday night; SDE chair Lauri Läänemets is expected to attend the meeting as well.

Pärnu County chapter chair Jana Ristimets told ERR that the goal of Monday's meeting is to introduce Peterson to the chapter board, to give Peterson the chance to share his thoughts and to clarify whether he would even like to run for election in Pärnu County.

Ristimets noted that she as chapter chair would be pleased to see Peterson run as SDE's top candidate in Pärnu County next spring.

"As chapter chair, if I look at the group of people who have previously run [for election] here and who are currently active in general, then of course I'd be glad if Peep were to accept the responsibility and be our top candidate here," she explained. "But I can't suggest to Peep, 'Yes, you have to come.' Likewise I can't decide this on the chapter board's behalf, but I as chapter chair would of course be pleased if such an active and determined person were to say yes and come help us out."

SDE secretary general Eduard Odinets told ERR that Peterson running for election in Pärnu County is one possible option, although the party's candidate lists by electoral district have not yet been set.

"As usual, some districts have more strong candidates; some have fewer," Odinets said. "We need to consider how to achieve a balance to ensure that there are enough strong people everywhere to ensure strong [candidate] lists."

It would be "very good" if Estonia's current health and labor minister were to run for election as an SDE candidate in Pärnu County, he added.

The secretary general noted that they should reach clarity on the matter within the next couple of weeks.

In the last Riigikogu elections in 2019, SDE candidates received a combined 2,780 votes in Pärnu County, accounting for 6.7 of all votes cast in the electoral district. Nationwide, however, the Social Democrats earned 9.8 percent of the vote, i.e. performed better overall.

SDE's top candidate in Pärnu County that year was Indrek Tarand, who received 1,061 votes but did not earn a seat in the 101-seat Riigikogu.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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