The leadership of the Social Democrats on Wednesday supported Riina Sikkut’s candidacy to follow party chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski as minister of health and labor. Sikkut previously worked as a government advisor on social security, health care, and the labor market.
“Sikkut has joined the Social Democratic Party and wants to focus 100 percent on the Estonian society. The leadership supported nominating her as minister, and as it is the Social Democrats’ aim to continue in government also beyond the Riigikogu elections, naturally the new minister will also be a candidate in the parliamentary elections,” leadership member and MP Rainer Vakra (SDE) told ERR on Wednesday morning.
Commenting on the fact that some party members are disgruntled because they learned about Sikkut’s nomination from the media, Vakra said that in this case the media have to be recognized for having done good work.
“It shows that the media are doing a good job, and once more than one person knows there inevitably comes a point in Estonian society where secrets can’t be kept anymore,” Vakra said. “The circle of people was already big enough for it to get leaked somewhere.”
Before the leadership meeting Vakra also assured reporters that should there be opposition to Sikkut’s nomination and the candidate not confirmed by the party, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas would take only one name to President Kersti Kaljulaid today, namely that of designated Minister of Public Administration Janek Mäggi (Center).
According to ERR’s Estonian-language news, Ratas is planning to take the names to the president today at around lunchtime. Once the president appoints the new ministers, they also have to face a confirmation vote in the Riigikogu.
Sikkut is following Jevgeni Ossinovski in the office of minister of health and labor. Ossinovski announced last month that he will resign and in the time left until the March 2019 Riigikogu elections concentrate on getting the party’s ratings out of the doldrums.
Riina Sikkut, born Jan. 12, 1983, previously worked as an advisor on social security, labor, and health care policy at the Government Office. Sikkut graduated the University of Tartu in 2005 and has a master’s degree in health care policy of the University of London.