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Social Democratic Party (Estonia)

Social Democratic Party
Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Erakond
Leader Jevgeni Ossinovski
Founded 8 September 1990 (1990-09-08) (as ESDP)
Headquarters Ahtri 10a
V floor
Tallinn 10151
Youth wing Young Social Democrats
Membership  (2014) 6,196
Ideology Social democracy[1]
Political position Centre-left
International affiliation Socialist International
European affiliation Party of European Socialists
European Parliament group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Colours Red
15 / 101
European Parliament
1 / 6
Politics of Estonia
Political parties

The Social Democratic Party (Estonian: Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Erakond, SDE) is a social-democratic[1][2] political party in Estonia, currently led by Jevgeni Ossinovski.[3]

The party was formerly known as the People's Party Moderates (Estonian: Rahvaerakond Mõõdukad).[4] The SDE has been a member of the Party of European Socialists since 16 May 2003 and a member of the Socialist International since November 1990.

The party has served as a junior coalition partner in the Rõivas cabinet since 26 March 2014.


  • History 1
    • 1989–today 1.1
  • Leaders of ESDP/SDE 2
  • Electoral results 3
    • Parliamentary elections 3.1
    • European Parliament elections 3.2
  • The periods in Government 4
  • Members of Estonian Government (Vabariigi Valitsus) 5
  • Members of Estonian Parliament (Riigikogu) 6
  • Members of the European Parliament 7
  • Other notable SDE members 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11



For the history of Estonian Social Democracy before the 1980s, see Estonian Social Democratic Workers' Party

During the perestroika era the Estonian Social Democratic Party (Eesti Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Partei, ESDP) was formed as Estonia's social-democratic movements merged in 1990. The movements were: the Estonian Democratic Labour Party, the Estonian Social Democratic Independence Party, the Russian Social Democratic Party of Estonia and the Estonian Socialist Party's Foreign Association (successor of Estonian Socialist Workers Party in exile).

"People's Party Moderates" (Rahvaerakond Mõõdukad) logo.

The ESDP's first leader was Marju Lauristin. They restored their contacts with the Socialist International in 1990. ESDP formed an electoral alliance with the agrarian Estonian Rural Centre Party (formed in 1990) for 1992 and 1995 elections. In 1996, after electoral defeat these two parties finally merged and named themselves the Moderates (Mõõdukad). The Moderates were accepted as a full member of the Socialist International at its 20th congress in September 1999.[5]

In 1999 the Moderates and the centre-right People's Party, set up in May 1998 after a fusion of Peasants' Party and People's Party of Republicans and Conservatives (a 1994 splinter group from the Fatherland Alliance), formed the People's Party Moderates (Rahvaerakond Mõõdukad). The seemingly unlikely decision to fuse took place on 29 May 1999, with some foreign commentators drawing parallels with 'right-wing socialists'.[6] In November the same year, the unification was formally approved by party's general assembly.

The Moderates' contacts with People's Party predecessors had started in 1998. The two parties had a joint list in 1999 parliamentary election and formed a governing coalition with Pro Patria Union and Reform Party. In 2003, the People's Party Moderates joined the Party of European Socialists. After disappointing election results in 2003, the party renamed itself the Social Democratic Party (SDE) on 7 February 2004.

It was the most successful party in the 2004 European Parliamentary Election, obtaining 36.8% of the national vote (most of which went to their leading candidate Toomas Hendrik Ilves) and returning 3 MEPs.

The SDE is committed to the social market economy model, in addition to conventional social-democratic values including equality, social justice, solidarity, and the welfare state. On 10 May 2005 former social-liberals Peeter Kreitzberg and Sven Mikser joined them. On 28 November former social-liberal Mark Soosaar re-joined the SDE. The party was in opposition from 2002 on, but they participated talks for a common alternative presidential candidate to Arnold Rüütel, SDE's Toomas Hendrik Ilves was elected on 23 September 2006 as the next president of Estonia (apart from the Social Democrats, he was supported by the Reform Party of Estonia, Pro Patria Union and Res Publica deputies).

After last elections to the local government councils on 16 October 2005, the party in most major cities is in opposition, but are a part of the governing coalition in Rakvere and Tapa. The party improved its position in most areas. In Tallinn, it formed a joint list with the agrarian People's Union, which got 6 seats out of 63 seats with 11.1% share of votes. Comparing to 2003. elections to the local government council in Tallinn SDE and People's Union gained seats. In the 2003 election, SDE got a 4.9% share of votes and People's Union 3.4% share of votes, which were both below a 5% election threshold. In Estonia, SDE local lists won 6.43% share of votes. In 2003 they got only 4.39% share of votes nationally. SDE is today represented on 65 local councils out of 206 and is governing in 20 local councils. After the 2003 election the party was represented in 104 local councils out of 247.

SDE's aim in the 2007 Estonian parliamentary election was to win at least 17 seats out of 101. Independent member of current Riigikogu Liina Tõnisson ran as a candidate in their list. All SDE's MEPs and their current MPs were candidates in the 2007 election. The party got 58,354 votes (10.6% of the total), a gain of +3.6%; it won 10 seats in the new Riigikogu, a gain of four.

In April 2007, the Social Democrats joined the coalition government led by the Estonian Reform Party.

In the 2011 parliamentary election on 6 March 2011, the SDE received 17.1% of the vote and 19 seats.

The small Russian Party in Estonia merged into the SDE in 2012.

Following the resignation of Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, a new cabinet was sworn in on 26 March 2014, with Taavi Rõivas of the Reform Party serving as Prime Minister in coalition with the SDE.[7]

In the 2014 European elections held on 25 May 2014, the SDE won 13.6% of the national vote, electing a single Member of the European Parliament.[8]

In the 2015 parliamentary election on 1 March 2015, the SDE received 15.2% of the vote and 15 seats in the Riigikogu.[9] After the coalition formation, MP Jevgeni Ossinovski announced that he would challenge Sven Mikser in the party congress on 30 May 2015.[10] Mikser however stepped down before the election at the congress and Ossinovski was chosen as the new party leader.[11]

Leaders of ESDP/SDE

Toomas Hendrik Ilves is the current President of Estonia

Electoral results

Parliamentary elections

Election Votes Seats Pos. Government Notes
# % ± pp # ±
1992 44,577 9.7
12 / 101
12 4th Coalition as Moderates (joint list with Rural Centre Party)
1995 32,381 6.0 3.7
6 / 101
6 5th Opposition as Moderates (joint list with Rural Centre Party)
1999 73,630 15.2 9.2
17 / 101
11 4th Coalition (–2001) as Moderates (including People's Party candidates)
2003 34,837 7.0 8.2
6 / 101
11 6th Opposition as People's Party Moderates
2007 58,363 10.6 3.6
10 / 101
4 4th Coalition (–2009)
2011 98,307 17.1 6.5
19 / 101
9 4th Coalition (2014–)
2015 87,168 15.2 1.9
15 / 101
4 3rd Coalition

European Parliament elections

Election Votes Seats Pos.
# % ± pp # ±
2004 85,433 36.8
3 / 6
3 1st
2009 34,508 8.7 28.3
1 / 6
2 5th
2014 44,550 13.6 4.9
1 / 6
0 4th

The periods in Government

1992–1994, 1994–1995, 1999–2001, 2007–2009 They participated in three centre-right governments with today's Fatherland Union and Reform Party. Social democrats were in government in 1992–1994 Mart Laar's first government, in 1994–1995 Andres Tarand's government (often called to Christmas Peace government (jõulurahu valitsus)) and in 1999–2001 Mart Laar's second government (often called Triple Alliance (kolmikliit)) and from 2007 to 2009, when the Social Democrat ministers were expelled from the government.

Members of Estonian Government (Vabariigi Valitsus)

Members of Estonian Parliament (Riigikogu)

Jevgeni Ossinovski

MP, electoral district [12]

Members of the European Parliament

Since 2014 the SDE has 1 MEP

Other notable SDE members

See also


  1. ^ a b Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  2. ^ Dimitri Almeida (27 April 2012). The Impact of European Integration on Political Parties: Beyond the Permissive Consensus. CRC Press. p. 71.  
  3. ^ "Ossinovski valiti sotside uueks juhiks, Mikser loobus". Postimees. 30 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  4. ^ James C. Docherty; Peter Lamb (2 October 2006). Historical Dictionary of Socialism. Scarecrow Press. p. 119.  
  5. ^
  6. ^ Right-wing Socialists. An unlikely merger, Mel Huang, Central Europe Review, Vol 0, No 37, 7 June 1999
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Ossinovski decides to run for leader of Social Democrats". ERR. 12 May 2015. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  11. ^ "Ossinovski valiti sotside uueks juhiks, Mikser loobus". Postimees. 30 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  12. ^ "Riigikogu valimised 2015". Vabariigi Valimiskomisjon. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Social Democratic Youth in Estonia
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