EKRE could join Center as second 'pariah' after party defends new MP's controversial 2012 blog post (10)
Although it was one of the four parties to be invited to consultations with election winner Reform, the Conservative People's Party's (EKRE) presence at the roundtable is becoming increasingly unwelcome, with the head of the Social Democrats ruling out cooperation with the party today and the Reform Party asking EKRE to denounce a comment by one of its members.
While Center Party's views on security issues and the Ukraine war made it an unpalatable choice for the Reform Party, the Conservative People's Party has been hurt by a media scandal that started this morning when uudised.err.ee posted an article about a junior MP-elect's blog post. The post expressed the view that authoritarian regimes could historically produce economic benefits.
The passage in question (rough translation from Estonian) in the January 2012 post by Jaak Madison read: "It's true there were concentration camps, forced labor camps, and a fondness for use of gas chambers, yet at the same time, that 'iron-fisted' rule did bring Germany out of deep s*** as the development initially based on military industry growth made the country one of the most powerful in Europe in just a few years."
There was also another part that read: "There is unfortunately no perfect form of government (not even democracy) but I see fascism as being an ideology that consists of many positive nuances necessary for preserving the nation-state."
While the post was several years old, a version did also appear in a piece on the party's website, which was removed, but not before media circulated a screenshot taken at 23:44.
Party chairman Mart Helme initially sprang to the defense of the MP-elect, calling the issue a pseudoproblem and a smear campaign.
Helme told uudised.err.ee: "It's an assessment of Germany at that time, and of the German economy. Quit trying to brand us with the label Nazi, we are not Nazis or fascists."
That was unacceptable to Sven Mikser of the Social Democrats, who said in a statement on social media today:
"Let it clearly be said that the Social Democrats do not see a way to be in the same coalition with EKRE, whose messages are predicated on inciting hatred. This is confirmed again by leader Mart Helme's unwillingness to denounce a statement by the party's new MP Jaak Madison justifying Nazism."
Madison is a 23-year-old who received 1,883 votes in a central Estonian district. The party's vote total fell short of winning a seat in the district, but Madison got a mandate due to his position on the party's nationwide ranking of its candidates.
Madison defended the post as well. He said it was an attempt, written hastily, at applying moral relativism to different political systems, and that the post had not caused controversy before.
"The trouble with society today is that people see extremism and racism everywhere. We should be thinking constructively and discursively."
The party is unpopular among social liberals and is remembered for opposition from many of its members to the Cohabitation Act, which would extend legal and financial benefits of marriage to all couples regardless of gender.
The Reform Party, known as the main backer of that act, has said that the Conservative People's Party should publicly condemn Madison's blog post. "The views expressed by Madison are unacceptable to us and EKRE should condemn them," said Martin Kukk, Reform Party's secretary-general.
It was also announced today that the Reform Party will not enter coalition talks with EKRE.
EKRE's chairman Mart Helme then decided to denounce Madison's blog post.
"It is unfortunate that Jaak Madison, a young party member, expressed his opinions in his personal blog back in 2012 on fascism in a way that people from the European kulturkreis find upsetting," he said in a statement. "We are a national conservative party that finds totalitarian views totally unacceptable."
He added that the post is over three years old and was made by a 20-year-old, expressing hope that the public will forgive the young man for his inappropriate remarks.
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