Social democrats blow off steam but continue with Ossinovski

Hannes Hanso and Rainer Vakra remained the only leading figures of the Social Democrat Party (SDE) to swim upstream in pointing to the possibility of replacing chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski in light of the minority coalition partner’s waning rating yesterday. The rest of the party core believes improved PR can bring voters back in time for the 2019 Riigikogu elections - writes

“We should be honest in talking about replacing the chairman,” MP Hannes Hanso told Delfi yesterday.

The former defense minister has been in silent opposition of the party’s leadership for a month – ever since he voted in favor of expressing no confidence against Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu (IRL) against the party’s decision. Hanso opened the wound again yesterday when he said the party’s dwindling rating could be the result of that decision that went against SDE’s values.

The social democrats’ rating has been hovering around 8 percent for some time. The last time support for the party was that modest was in 2008 – before chairman Jüri Pihl was replaced.

“Every time a professional politician hears about a change to their rating or that of their party, they should take a moment to reflect. Whence the change?” MP Rainer Vakra said.

As the day progressed, it became clear Hanso and Vakra were largely alone, and that the rest of the party had already agreed on talking points to justify the poor rating.

“Quickly demanding scalps is the simplest way of boosting one’s own rating,” MEP Ivari Padar said.

He said that while there are no irreplaceable people, the situation needs to be analyzed before changing leaders. Padar added that such an analysis would quickly show that the party has nothing to criticize Ossinovski for.

“I believe Jevgeni Ossinovski has rather made PR mistakes. He has been unsuccessful at communication. The biggest mistake is that a number of achievements have not been explained to the people,” Padar found.

“I have no reason to lean to either side; however, looking at what other government would have maintained such a left-center line, there hasn’t been one,” he said.

MP Liisa Oviir agreed. She said the party has not supported Ossinovski enough in the public and failed to explain its policies to the voter.

“This includes oversight on the part of the faction and myself. All this has created the impression that we are a one-trick pony which isn’t true,” Oviir reasoned.

The MP said that replacing Ossinovski would yield no benefit. “I do not believe it sensible to change drivers halfway into the race.”

SDE Secretary General Kalvi Kõva did not rush to take blame. He said that while the rating has plummeted because of alcohol excise duty hikes and missed tax revenue, it is not something the social democrats can be blamed for.

“The excise duty on alcohol is hiked through the finance ministry, and border trade was created because of a sharp hike of the duty on strong alcohol by the Reform Party’s government,” Kõva said. “PR firms have done a beautiful job of making it our fault.”

The secretary general said that the party’s sad state is the common responsibility of all members. “Everyone must think about what we’ve done wrong,” he said.

Kõva said that he has not received signals from regional organizations calling for Ossinovski to resign. The secretary general is not afraid of the status quo holding until the 2019 elections and sinking the party’s election result. “I don’t see it, as who else would do these good things without the social democrats in the government?”

Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Urve Palo said that SDE is a forward-looking party that wants to introduce positive change in society even if it works against their popularity in the short term. “It would be very sad were we to condemn and punish such conduct. Jevgeni has the support of members of the party,” she said.

SDE board member and member of the Tartu city government Marju Lauristin dispelled all doubt regarding whether Ossinovski will be replaced.

“It is clear: the party currently has no reason or intent to discuss replacing the chairman. We should follow the example of Mart Laar and Siim Kallas who have come under far more serious fire: they have had enough tenacity and fortitude to stay in politics and do what they believed was right, and I believe Jevgeni is cut from the same cloth,” she suggested.

Lauristin said that Ossinovski represents the party’s core values very well. “I do not believe replacing a good chairman with another good chairman would change the party’s policy. Jevgeni has kept the party on a value-based course,” the veteran politician said.

Read more news of Tallinn on our site.
SDE JevgeniOssinovski
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
No rates yet
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Chairman of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and one of the owners of construction group Nordecon, Toomas Luman, finds that a prime ministerial candidate should first and foremost be able to answer the question of what will become of the demographic crisis in Estonia. The businessman sees controlled introduction of foreign labor as the solution. A digital construction cluster was created in Estonia a few years back to bring innovation to the s...
Last year saw 27,125 registered offenses, up 0.5 percent from the year before. Violent crime was up by 12 percent to 8,249 offenses. PHOTO: Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire / Press Association Images / Scanpix Growth was biggest for domestic violence – the police launched criminal proceedings in 3,607 cases that constitutes an increase of more than one-third – annual growth of 37 percent from 2,632 cases in 2017. At the same time, reports of domestic violence we...
TALLINN - Ahead of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, tens of thousands of British citizens have chosen the citizenship of some other country, but only one Brit has recently chosen an Estonian citizenship. Spokespeople for the Ministry of the Interior told BNS that only one British citizen submitted an application for Estonian citizenship last year and the applicant was also granted the citizenship. Before that, no Brits had soug...
TALLINN - Experts from Finland, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands highlighted the importance of decentralization and granting local governments greater decision-making powers at a conference titled "Strong local government -- strong state?" in Tallinn on Wednesday.  All Nordic countries have chosen a model granting local governments significant decision-making powers, thus the central government does not prescribe how local governments are to fulfill the...
The language learning application Drops by game developer Planb Labs, established in Estonia by Hungarian founders, was named Google Play's best app of 2018. With the number of downloads surpassing 10 million, Drops was named Google's app of the year as the revenue of Planb Labs, a company registered in Estonia, increased fivefold, CNBC said. The developer's revenue grew from €335,000 in 2017 to €1.7 million in 2018. The company's shareholders include Hung...
TALLINN - The Estonian Health Board has banned the distribution of chlorine dioxide, also marketed as the Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS), the A-component of an unused product, meaning the sodium chlorite solution, must be taken to a hazardous waste collection facility. Ester Opik, head of the Health Board's North regional department, said that the banning of the distribution of the product was caused by the fact that MMS, distributed as a cosmetics produ...
Nature cannot abide a vacancy, as the saying goes. If just one year ago, Estonia was battling the sale of MMS and the practice of giving it to children, a new “miracle cure” called Advanced TRS has appeared on the market now. Even though the make-up of the substance is different, the promise to cure autism and cleanse the body of heavy metals, which kind of extreme detox is accompanied by severe side-effects, sounds all too familiar. TRS is recommended to...
Allied NATO battalions will soon mark two years serving in the Baltics. They have worked better than expected but would need prepositioned heavy weaponry and a functional contingency plan in case of a crisis, a report by the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS) finds. “We do not know how Russia would have acted had we not welcomed allies in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in 2017. I’m afraid they would have tested our resolve,” one of...
The time of filing income tax returns is nearly upon us. The new income tax system, in effect since last year, will obligate many women who went on maternity leave toward the end of the year to make additional income tax payments, while those who give birth in the middle or at the beginning of the year have no such obligation. What this means is that some women will owe the state simply for giving birth “at the wrong time”. Laura Roop, who went on maternit...