The Social Democratic Party (SDP) has a moderately left-wing world view, championing the principles of justice, compassion, 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 welbeing of the population.
Social Democratic Party Faction of the 13th Riigikogu has 14 members.
The Social Democratic Party Faction has been in parliamentary coalition as well as in opposition. After an interval of five years, SDP again joined the government in 2014, in coalition with the Reform Party. As one of its major recent accomplishments, the faction legislated and enforced an increase in universal child benefits – something the Social Democrats had initiated a long time ago. The Social Democrats also continued in the government after the 2015 parliamentary elections, when a government coalition was signed after lengthy negotiations with the Reform Party and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union. One of the priorities of the Social Democrats in the 13th Riigikogu continues to be improved welfare of families with children. The faction also stands for a more just salary policy, for launching a programme of rental apartments, and reducing wage gap, occupational diseases and accidents.
In its activities, the faction is guided by the ideas that characterise the Social Democrats all over the world. The aim of the Party is to make Estonia a socially nurturing and wealthy society with a smart economy. The Social Democrats view it as the duty of the state to ensure the security of the society, the education and social sphere, and also the stability and sustainability of the economy and the environment. For the Social Democrats, the key issue in Estonia is the development of human resources, which includes ensuring quality education for all the children and young people. They stand for a welfare state where the whole population has the right to a dignified life, regardless of whether they live in periphery or in Tallinn. “We want Estonia to be modern, innovative and free of national hang-ups,” the Chairman of the Social Democratic Party Sven Mikser has said. “Estonia must be a place where the Estonians like to live, where they can develop in security, raise their children, and grow old with dignity.”
Political priorities in the near future
The Party directs its main efforts into improving the situation of children and families with children, eliminating salaried poverty and improving social coherence. The sudden worsening of the security situation in Europe is forcing the SDP and its Chairman Sven Mikser, as the current Minister of Defence, to focus more on guaranteeing Estonia’s security. The Social Democratic Party faction believes that this can be ensured by an effective foreign policy, which is also a key to economic and social development and a wider spreading of democracy in the whole world.
The Social Democrats have always valued free exchange of ideas and wider involvement. The faction therefore constantly communicates throughout its legislative activities with experts, citizens’ associations and interest groups. The Party intends to introduce a style of governance where dialogue is always sought and every attempt is made to engage the civil society in deciding on all the significant matters.
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?
Social democracy as a political thought has deep roots in Estonia: the Social Democratic Party is celebrating its 110th anniversary in 2015. The SDE may also be regarded as the political party that has been continuously active for the longest time in Estonia. A movement linked to this ideology emerged as early as 1905; in the 1919 Constituent Assembly – the first parliament of the Republic of Estonia – three quarters of the seats belonged to political parties with a social democratic leaning. 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 the World War II, and their membership was restored after Estonia regained its independence. The Estonian Socialist Party’s Foreign Association was considered the carrier of continuity in exile; merging with three other parties in September 1990, it formed the Estonian Social Democratic Party. Current Member of the European Parliament Marju Lauristin became its leader.
The forerunner of the SDP, the Moderates (Mõõdukad), was formed in 1996, when the Estonian Social Democratic Party and the Estonian Rural Centre Party merged. Over the first half 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.
Read more about the history of The Social Democratic Party
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