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Ossinovski: Return to power of Reform would mean serious setback

SDE party chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski giving a speech before the party council.
SDE party chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski giving a speech before the party council. Source: (SDE)

The Social Democrats confirmed Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski as party chairman and adopted the party's platform for the coming local elections. In his speech, Ossinovski said that the party's goal needed to be to avoid a return to power of the Reform Party at any cost.

The Social Democrats confirmed Ossinovski as party chairman. In his speech to the party congress, he said that the party's goal needed to be to keep the Reform Party out of the government at all cost.

The “flying squirrel” had “turned into a shot-down crow”, Ossinovski said, alluding to the squirrel in Reform's logo. A return to power of the party that had dominated politics for 15 years leading up to the government change last autumn would mean a return to mediocrity and a “political still life”, both of which would mean a serious setback, Ossinovski said. Reform's course of giving tax breaks to the wealthiest may please those who had the most, but didn't get the country ahead. “And Estonia doesn't have any time to lose on their government,” he added.

He also pointed out that over the next ten years up to another quarter of all jobs would disappear due to automation, and the country's working population would shrink by up to 100,000. “In this context, it's grotesque that we've passionately and publicly debated over the last months whether or not a bottle of beer should cost 20 cents more. Simply embarrassing,” he added. “The most jobs have disappeared in the processing industry, and it's mostly been men in their 40s and 50s who lost their jobs. This is a painful process Trump as well as Le Pen and Helme (the chairman of the Estonian Conservative People's Party EKRE; ed.) are taking advantage of.”

Economic change was affecting people's social position, and social inequality had increased, Ossinovski said. This led to poisoned politics. “A democratic society can't exist endlessly in a state where a minority does better and better while the majority stands still or lags behind,” he added.

The party's goal had to be an Estonia that was innovative and open to change, and valued every member of its society. Further investments were needed in education and life-long learning to make it possible for people to successfully continue on into the future.

Ossinovski was confirmed as party chairman with 404 to 13 votes. The party's secretary general, Kristen Kanarik, was also confirmed.

MP, chairwoman of the Riigikogu's Social Afffairs Committee, and head of the party's Viljandi section Helmen Kütt, chairman of the Social Democrats' group in the city council of Tallinn Anto Liivat, MP and deputy chairwoman of the party's group in the Riigikogu Heljo Pikhof, and Minister of Culture Indrek Saar were elected deputies.

The congress also confirmed the party's platform for the campaign leading up to this year's local elections, to be held in October.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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