Karilaid: Ratas trusts Repinski, Center has thrown weight behind him ({{commentsTotal}})

Minister of Rural Affairs Martin Repinski (Center) answering questions at a press conference last Friday. Nov. 25, 2016. Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

Prime Minister of Estonia Jüri Ratas trusts Minister of Rural Affairs Martin Repinski, who found himself the target of allegations of dishonest business practices the day the new government took office, and the governning board of the Center Party has likewise decided to defend Repinski, said party deputy chairman Jaanus Karilaid.

"There were opinions across the board at the meetings of the governing board and leadership of the Center Party, yet in the end, arguments were heard and it was concluded that the decision to be made to day was one to defend the minister," Karilaid told BNS on Monday. "As I understand, Repinski has also promised to Ratas that he would eliminate his debt and has won [the Prime Minister's] debt with this, so I hope the newly-appointed Minister of Rural Affairs will not misuse this trust."

In addition to being the Prime Minister, Jüri Ratas is also the chairman of the Center Party.

Weekly Eesti Ekspress reported on Nov. 23, the day the new Estonian government took office, that Repinski may have sold goat cheese imported from the Netherlands labeled as his own Konju Farm's product in his store, and cited former Konju Farm employees as accusing Repinski of refusal to pay wages due as well as other irregularities.

On Nov. 24, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas restated his position that Repinski must promptly address the scandal and provide answers to the allegations raised.

Karilaid also noted that the press conference given by Repinski on Friday, Nov. 25, during which the newly appointed minister was unable to answer regarding exatly how many people were working on his goat farm, was likewise addressed at the meeting of the Center Party's governing board.

The conclusion eventually reached at the meeting, however, was that "...there is still trust left today, and that is what matters," said Karilaid.

"Everything to follow will depend on what communication will be like in the future and wh

According to the party's deputy chairman, everything to follow will depend on the nature of any future communication as well as that of any events concerning Repinski and his actions. "The Prime Minister has to see to it that his cabinet is fit for work, and that it must be fit to work today," added Karilaid.

The MP said that he has heard from people working at the Ministry of Rural Affairs that Repinski immediately took up work and has "...taken the bull by the horns, and this by all means speaks in his favor."

He still found that Repinski had indeed made a blunder in his communication, and the near future would tell whether or not the latter was in fact guilty of anything, but added that, "...trust [currently] exists between the Prime Minister and the Minister, and this is how I will take it."

Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla

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