Opinion: it’s too soon to give power to Social Democrats

13.02.2013, 15:18

Igor Rõtov, CEO of Äripäev group, writes in Äripäev that if parliamentary elections were held today, they would be won by Centre Party’s Edgar Savisaar and Social Democrats’ Sven Mikser.

Both parties are known for their plan to introduce progressive taxation and would be the first left-wing government on power in Estonia since 1991.

„Many believe that the time is right, but I am convinced that it’s too early. Estonia is not wealthy enough to increase tax burden or redistribute wealth.

This would also effectively kill the economic growth that has been struggling to keep up.

Another source of fear is the mistakes that left-wing parties that come to power for the first time could do. Re-distributing wealth that does not exist seems to be the corner-stone of their economic policy.

It was only a year ago that the government of Andrus Ansip was feeling itself very smug and confident. There were no political powers that seemed to be threatening the dominance of the Reform Party.

But the confidence crisis that started with Silvergate hit a crack in the armour and this crack is deepening and growing.

It seems that by the time that local elections are held in the summer, the train of right-wing parties has already gone.

Unless Savisaar does somethign stupied, he is almost certain to remain on power in Tallinn while Social Democrats and Centre Party are going to have more seats.

As for the general elections, it’s two years from now and now is the time for right-wing parties to regroup and go back to the drawing board.

The present situation is extremely confusing. Political initiatives seem to have moved from the parliament to the public domain which tends to be controlled by left-wingers.

At least Ansip seems to be doing somethign to improve the government’s public image. The news from EU budget talks say that he was successful in squeezing money out of the European Union. Äripäev noted it in its editorial from yesterday.

However, the impact of this achievement is likely to remain weak for the public because people believe that things are decided in Brussels over our heads, whether we want it or not or regardless of who is on power in Estonia.

The key answer that voters are asking the Reform Party is what they plan to do with their deceitful politics. I hope I am wrong but the way things look right now, the answer is for the Reform Party to disappear from the political scene for the next four years.

Ansip also keeps sending out mixed signals. He has said that he is not going to form the next government, but recently announced that is was going to run for the party chairmanship to be held this summer.

He explained that the Reform Party was in crisis and he feels the obligation to help out. I think that Ansip actually wants to continue as Prime Minister also in the next government  which is why he know claims that he has been misquoted about his plans to leave the political scene.

The best solution for liberals would be to allow Ansip to withdraw with dignity, as Mart Laar did. He could remain honorary chairman of Reform Party and go to history as a sort of a strongman among Estonian heads of govenrment.

Reform Party itself should re-focus from past to future. It needs new faces, politicians who are not caught lying in public, something secretly financed, who have no connections to R-Hooldus or VEB Fund or even a Communist past. Where are young liberal politicians who will bloom in 2020?

Right-wing parties also need new ideas. Why not set the target of doubling wealth or becoming Europe’s least corrupt society.

If, however, Reform Party continues to go down the same path as now and cotninues to fight shadows under Ansip’s leadership, it will only benefit left-wingers and also IRL which has until now been largely faceless.

There is enough time until the next general elections to make sure that left-wing parties are held away from power. It’s too early for Social Democrats to come to power – let’s accumulate wealth for another 4 years before we allow them to spend it.