Ossinovski blames EKRE, Estonia 200 for Social Democrats' major losses

Social Democratic Party (SDE) chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski on Election Night.
Social Democratic Party (SDE) chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski on Election Night. Source: ERR

Social Democratic Party (SDE) chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski said late on Sunday night that newcomer Estonia 200 and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) are both to blame for stealing votes from the party.

"The election results are definitely well below our expectations, yes," Mr Ossinovski said, commenting on the party's final results in the 2019 Riigikogu election.

According to the party chairman, however, the thank you speech he delivered to his party mates late Sunday night was not also his resignation speech as head of the party.

He highlighted two main factors behind the Social Democrats' poor results.

"One is of course the fact that this extreme right-wing wave is much bigger in Estonia than it had seemed meanwhile," Mr Ossinovski said, referring to EKRE."[The wave] which has washed over other European societies has reached us now as well, and we as a society have not coped with it very well."

He noted that EKRE will shape the political climate as well as topics up for debate in Estonia.

"The other is of course the fact that it was clear last autumn already that Estonia 200 would steal votes from us," the party chairman continued. "It's especially sad that, in addition to the fact that they took some 4-5 seats from us, they are likely out of the Riigikogu as well."

Such election results will undoubtedly require a look in the mirror, Mr Ossinovski said, both for himself and for everyone else who did not achieve their expected results.

Asked what had been done wrong, the party chair responded that the answer included a variety of different nuances. He believed that the plagiarism scandal centred around Rainer Vakra had some impact on the party's results, and noted that the debate surrounding the UN Global Compact for Migration did not do the party's popularity any favours.

Mr Ossinovski said that over the next few days, the party will draw conclusions based on its election results and thereafter discuss under whose leadership it will move forward.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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