Social Democratic Party (Estonia)

Social Democratic Party (Estonia)
Social Democratic Party
Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Erakond
Leader Sven Mikser
Founded 8 September 1990
Headquarters Ahtri 10a
V floor
Tallinn 10151
Youth wing Young Social Democrats
Ideology Social democracy,
Third Way
Political position Centre-left
International affiliation Socialist International
European affiliation Party of European Socialists
European Parliament Group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Official colours Red
19 / 101
European Parliament
1 / 6
Politics of Estonia
Political parties

The Social Democratic Party (Estonian: Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Erakond, SDE) is a social-democratic party in Estonia, led by Sven Mikser. It 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 was formerly known as the People's Party Moderates (Estonian: Rahvaerakond Mõõdukad), and as such secured 6 seats with 7.0% share of vote in the Riigikogu (the parliament of Estonia) in 2003. It was the most successful party in the 2004 European Parliamentary Election, obtaining 36.8% of the national vote and returning 3 MEPs.

The party's youth wing is called Young Social Democrats.




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

During the perestroika era the Estonian Social Democratic Party was formed as Estonia's social-democratic movements merged in 1990. The movements were: the Estonian Democratic Laour Party, the Estonian Social Democratic Independence Party, the Russian Social Democratic Party in 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 centre-right 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".

In 1999 the Moderates joined the People's Party, a centre-right party, formed in May 1998 after fusion of small Peasants' Party and People's Party of Republicans and Conservatives, a 1994 splinter group from Fatherland Alliance. The seemingly unlikely decision to fuse took place on 29 May 1999, with some foreign commentators drawing parallels with 'right-wing socialists'.[1] 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 themselves the Social Democratic Party (SDE) on 7 February 2004.

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 the 28th November former social-liberal Mark Soosaar re-joined the SDE. The party has been 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.

2007 election results

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 Reform Party.

Leaders of ESDP/SDE

Riigikogu election results

  • 1992: 12 seats (as electoral cartel Moderates, i.e joint list of Estonian Social Democratic Party and Rural Centre Party)
  • 1995: 6 seats (as electoral cartel Moderates, i.e joint list of Estonian Social Democratic Party and Rural Centre Party)
  • 1999: 17 seats (as Moderates, which included People's Party candidates)
  • 2003: 6 seats (as People's Party Moderates)
  • 2007: 10 seats
  • 2011: 19 seats

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 Parliament (Riigikogu)

MP, electoral district

  • Sven Mikser, Järvamaa and Viljandimaa counties, faction chairman
  • Eiki Nestor, Haabersti, Põhja-Tallinn and Kristiine districts in Tallinn, faction vice chairman
  • Indrek Saar, Lääne-Virumaa county, faction vice chairman
  • Jaak Allik, Ida-Virumaa county
  • Andres Anvelt, Kesklinn, Lasnamäe and Pirita districts in Tallinn
  • Kalev Kotkas, Hiiumaa, Läänemaa and Saaremaa counties
  • Mart Meri, Mustamäe and Nõmme districts in Tallinn
  • Kalvi Kõva, Võrumaa, Valgamaa and Põlvamaa counties
  • Helmen Kütt, Järvamaa and Viljandimaa counties
  • Kajar Lember, Hiiumaa, Läänemaa and Saaremaa counties
  • Marianne Mikko, Pärnumaa county
  • Jevgeni Ossinovski, Ida-Virumaa county
  • Heljo Pikhof, Tartu city
  • Urve Palo, Harjumaa and Raplamaa (without Tallinn city)
  • Rein Randver, Võrumaa, Valgamaa and Põlvamaa counties
  • Karel Rüütli, Harjumaa and Raplamaa (without Tallinn city)
  • Neeme Suur, Hiiumaa, Läänemaa and Saaremaa counties
  • Rannar Vassiljev, Lääne-Virumaa county
  • Jaan Õunapuu, Jõgevamaa and Tartumaa counties (without Tartu city)

Members of the European Parliament

Since 2009 the SDE has 1 MEP

Other notable SDE members


  1. ^ Right-wing Socialists. An unlikely merger, Mel Huang, Central Europe Review, Vol 0, No 37, 7 June 1999

See also

External links

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