EKRE chairman, Minister of the Interior Mart Helme accused the press of Minister of Rural Affairs Mart Järvik's release from office.
Helme started the press conference to explain the government's Mart Järvik and Ministry of Rural Affairs Secretary General Illar Lemetti decisions by attacking the press.
"You are spreading complete misinformation about looming muzzling of officials and that someone of high moral standards who reported corruption was removed. Do you have anything concrete on the minister? My information suggests you have nothing of the sort," Helme said.
Helme: We have candidates for the positions of minister and secretary general
Helme said that the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) will man the ministry next week. "We have a candidate for secretary general and also a ministerial candidate with plenty of experience in the field," the interior minister said.
Journalists asked Helme whether the candidate for minister was Merry Aart or Peeter Ernits and whether EKRE would propose Maido Pajo for the position of secretary general. Helme said no.
Mart Helme said that the new rural affairs minister plans to pick up Mart Järvik's initiatives.
The decision to release Illar Lemetti from office was EKRE's condition for the dismissal of Mart Järvik, Helme said. "We can say that this will ensure peace at the ministry. The new minister will not have to wage a war against their secretary general from day one," Helme said.
Helme: Minister has the right and obligation to interfere in the work of agencies
Helme did not agree that a minister mustn't interfere in the work of agencies in their administrative area. "Claims that Mart Järvik went beyond his commission are incompetent. If officials feel that a minister's desire to control their agencies is illegitimate, something is very wrong in the Republic of Estonia," he said.
Helme said that an official's job description does not include "working against" the minister. He added that Illar Lemetti did a serious disservice to top-ranking public servants.
The interior minister also said his staff is not working against him at the ministry, while it was the case at the rural affairs ministry.
Helme said EKRE will amend public service legislation so that officials couldn't counteract ministers.
Even though Helme said at the government press conference last Thursday that he fully trusts State Secretary Taimar Peterkop's committee (tasked with analyzing Järvik's scandals – ed.), he said on Monday that the committee's report is mistaken where it claims Järvik went beyond his commission. "Peterkop's committee drew a one-sided conclusion based on the materials it used," he said.
Editor: Marcus Turovski