Soc Dems keep gambling on Registered Partnership Act

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Photo: Marko Saarm / Sakala

Inability of coalition to agree about an outwardly easy personnel issue has singled out Soc Dems as the partner proposing peculiar solutions from exiting the government to early elections.

«Indeed the early elections idea surfaced at a certain moment in time but then it was understood that this would not fly right now and the current coalition has no competitor,» said an initiated one.

Except for Centre, no party has reasons to look forward to early elections in light of recent polls. Whatever a soc dem might calculate – early elections would serve RKRE and the Free well and yield no extra votes to coalition partners. So they stopped juggling the idea.

Last Friday night the heads of three power parties did meet but again arrived at nothing though allegedly the top soc dem Jevgeni Ossinovski this time was not as adamant as before that Juhan Parts (IRL) not be sent to European Court of Auditors. From now, putting it politely, is pure bargaining.

«[IRL chairman Margus] Tsahkna is quite distressed already. All kinds of options have been offered and deliberated but still there’s something that won’t fit,» said an IRL politician.

The Soc Dems keep setting the Registered Partnership Act on the scales. Even if IRL would yield four or five additional votes to the one cast by Maire Aunaste, still it would not be enough to adopt the increasingly headache of an act. Another four or five ought to be squeezed from someplace.

The chairmen thing

It seems they will just let it be and wait for the new year. Tomorrow, the government is holding its final official session of the year. If nothing urgent happens, they only meet again on January 7th.

Reform Party board member and education minister Jürgen Ligi admitted he did not know of any essential issues to be discussing the fate of the government to such a large degree.

«There are no resources to change the coalition – from the opposition, there would be no positive programme, no strong team nor votes to be had, and near term budgets have been so planned as to provide no margin to alter course,» he said.

«A thinking individual should see that what is on offer is, rather, the extreme populism, the differences in security policy and corruption. The only thing that robs us of any certainty at the moment is the enormous lack of experience and violations of good cooperation practice which has characterised the politics this year,» added Mr Ligi.

Former Soc Dems chairman now in Riigikogu Sven Mikser thinks the Court of Auditors issue is a single issue for chairmen to be solved while still affecting the overall atmosphere in coalition. Though the chairmen have net on numerous occasions while the stalemate persists for three weeks, Mr Mikser still thinks the chairmen must keep on meeting until they find a solution.

«The chairmen must solve this, some lower levels cannot do it for them,» said Mr Mikser, adding that it is up to the chairmen to decide by who, how and which will be the compromises.  

Regarding the linking of Mr Parts’ candidacy to adoption of Registered Partnership Act implementation bill, Mr Mikser said that for his party the entry into force of the act is important of course but that these issues were not explicitly related.  

«Naturally, in politics it is like if someone comes asking for support regarding something that has not been agreed before, it is normal then that the other side also asks for something,» he admitted.

The apolitical option

Culture minister Indrek Saar (Soc Dems), however, said the only solution would be an apolitical candidate for Court of Auditors.

«The solution is finding a new candidate, there are no other solutions. In high likelihood, it would need to be an apolitical candidate in today’s situation and not some retiring politician,» he noted.

Mr Saar thought it impossible to mention other befitting candidates earlier mentioned by Soc Dems chairman Mr Ossinovski. «The coalition must agree about that. Makes no sense to just list candidates by their dozens, as there are probably lots of good people who could be sent there and who would represent Estonian state well,» he said and expressed hopes it would not be the last minute’s call.

Asked if the continued stalemate was not a threat to the other decisions by coalition, Mr Saar said there was always the danger of anger smouldering but «naturally, it may begin to emotionally affect. I hope we will manage to be above that.»

Regarding the rumours that the soc dems were intentionally seeking to split the coalition or were even toying with the early elections idea, neither Mr Saar nor Mr Mikser thought this to be serious. They said neither party in the coalition would have anything to gain out of such options.