Editorial: the past and the bickering

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Photo: Urmas Nemvalts

Understandably, the Soc Dems are moving into a governing position their new chief Jevgeni Ossinovski. For one, that's a surer way to see the coalition treaty is honoured. On the other, hand, why send defence minister and party's former chairman Sven Mikser into Riigikogu? 

Sure, chairman has the right to pick his team. Clearly, former chairman is not his inner circle buddy. Even so, important to not allow inner bickering to overly impact decisions of the party. The damage may reach the politics beyond it.

There’s differences in any party which is natural. In IRL, the stitches of Pro Patria and Res Publica still show. In Centre, we see the pro-Savisaar and pro-somebody-else camps. We ought indeed to be cautious if there were no differences – probably, that would mean these are not allowed to emerge, or are carefully concealed from public. Both would be bad: the first threatens inside-party democracy, the other the transparency.

The soc dems seem to have it basically okay with inner democracy and transparency. Even so, the split-like division lead to changing of the chairman, from there naturally to manoeuvrings in the government, and that does not look like the end of the arguments.

As pointed out by political scientists Vello Pettai and Rein Toomla in Postimees this weekend, Soc Dems do stand out for one particular feature – which is the abundant mergers. In 1996, it was Social Democratic Party and Rural Centre Party that merged into Moderates. Three years after that, Moderates and People’s Party united. In 2012, the soc dems were joined by Russian Party in Estonia. On top of that, soc dems have drawn a considerable part of Centre and People’s Party elite.

The other remarkable aspect is the relations with Soc Dems and its forerunners with Reform – the past four times, the cooperation hasn’t been too smooth.

The two factors may have lead to dissatisfaction with the coalition agreement which was not much like soc dems at all. The need to take a stronger stand spawned inner discord and finally a threat to the very coalition.

As we said: contradictions in parties and in coalitions are part of politics. Important, at that, to not let them grow so large as to cloud reasonableness of decisions.

Cartoon: See, the Soc Dems are moving furniture in the government. Mikser and Vassiljev got thrown out already, piano and wardrobe may be next to go.