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By its worldview, the Social Democratic Party supports moderately left-wing politics. Its policies are based on social-democratic values of justice, compassion and solidarity, and protection of civil rights and individual freedoms. The Social Democrats believe that the state must play a stronger role in directing Estonia’s development and improving the welfare of the people.

Social Democratic Party Faction of the 14th Riigikogu has 10 members.

The Social Democratic Party has been represented in all compositions of the Riigikogu after Estonia regained its independence. In the 13th Riigikogu, the Social Democratic Party Faction had 15 members, but in the 14th Riigikogu, it has 10 members. Eight of the ten members of the Faction have been ministers of the Government. The Social Democrats carried the responsibility of being a partner in the government coalition of Estonia in 2014–2019; before the last elections, they belonged to three consecutive coalitions. The Social Democrats consider the successful family policy of Estonia their greatest achievement of that period. As a result of that, the number of children living in poverty has decreased by several times and the welfare of tens of thousands of families with children has improved. Estonia has become a country where the birth of a child or having many children do not mean poverty for the family. Had there been no Social Democrats, the salary increases of teachers, cultural workers, police officers and rescue service officials in recent years would have been considerably more modest. The ministers from the Social Democratic Party, with the support of their Faction, launched the health care financing reform and stood for making dental care and medicines more affordable to the people.

Since spring 2019, the Social Democrats act as a strong opposition force. In the situation where one of the coalition parties of Estonia has expressed anti-democratic and extreme right positions, the Social Democrats consider it their main task to stand for constitutional values. The Social Democrats unconditionally protect human rights and personal freedoms, the fundamental principles of rule of law, and free and independent press. They uphold free and democratic society in Estonia.

World view

In its activities, the Faction is guided by the ideas that characterise modern social democracy all over the world. The Social Democrats promote a welfare society that aims to ensure equal opportunities and dignified existence to everybody. The Social Democrats also support education and research in order to invest in the future. They support the development of business and economy, preserve and develop the Estonian language and culture, and protect the environment. The aim of the Social Democratic Party is to make Estonia a wealthy country with smart economy, an innovative, caring and safe country. The Party regards belonging to the European Union and NATO the main security guarantee for Estonia, and thus stands for good allied relationships, and a strong and unified European Union. The Faction considers promoting of civil society and good cooperation with civil society one of its missions.

Political priorities in the near future

The Social Democrats think that not being able to stop marginalisation is one of the greatest problems in Estonia and the reason why many people have not had the possibility to benefit from Estonia’s success. Therefore, it is necessary to continue efforts to improve the welfare of families with children and to ensure high-quality education to children and young people. Ensuring dignified old age to the elderly is also a priority. Reduction of inequality is not just helping the weaker to catch up; it is the most important precondition for the balanced development of society. Estonia must become a society without losers, where every person has the freedom to be themselves and where everyone fares better as a result of common effort.

Did you know that a movement linked to this ideology emerged as early as 1905, and thus SDE may be regarded as the political party that has been continuously active for the longest time in Estonia?

History

Social democracy as a political thought has deep roots in Estonia: the Social Democratic Party is celebrating its 115th anniversary in 2020. The Social Democratic Party may also be regarded as the political party that has been continuously active for the longest time in Estonia. A movement that supported this ideology emerged as early as in 1905, and in the first Parliament of the Republic of Estonia, the Constituent Assembly, which convened in 1919, three quarters of the seats belonged to political parties championing social democratic ideals. Thus, the forerunners of the Social Democrats played a decisive role in founding and developing the Estonian state during the 1920s.

The Estonian Social Democrats belonged to the Socialist International already before World War II, and their membership was restored after Estonia regained its independence. The carrier of continuity in exile was the Estonian Socialist Party’s Foreign Association, which merged with three other parties in September 1990 to form the Estonian Social Democratic Party. Marju Lauristin, who is still active in politics, became its leader. The forerunner of the Social Democratic Party, the Moderates (Mõõdukad), was formed in 1996, when the Estonian Social Democratic Party and the Estonian Rural Centre Party merged. At the beginning of the last decade, the Social Democrats were the driving force behind the implementation of reforms in the pension system, health insurance and unemployment insurance.

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Last updated: 29.04.2019

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