Social Democratic Party (SDE) leader Indrek Saar said that Mart Helme's remarks about new Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) and her government were part of a pattern of behavior aimed at isolating Estonia.
Speaking to daily Postimees, Saar drew a Shakespearean parallel in noting that while Helme was not as verbally flattering as Hamlet, there was, as Polonius put it, a method to his madness.
"While Helme usually specializes in abuse at home, this time he has unprecedentedly offended the Finnish state, the Finnish people, the Finnish government and the new Finnish prime minister," Saar told the daily.
Speaking on TRE Raadio Sunday morning broadcast Räägime asjast, Helme said derided Marin, who became prime minister early last week, as a "cashier", and also claimed that the current five-party center-left coalition in office is intent on undermining Finland and making it an EU province.
Saar also noted that the interior minister and Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) had imperilled Estonian-Finnish relations for a second time, following his claims in an interview with Finnish daily llta-Sanomat that Estonia needed a plan B as an alternative to NATO, adding that his recent remarks had made it on to public broadcaster YLE's pages and decrying the fact that the current coalition had members who in his view consistently threaten Estonia's interests.
Saar also claimed that Helme's comments were evidence of an inferiority complex and an inability to comprehend that women could competently hold political office, adding an apology to Sanna Marin and all Finnish people.
Several leading members of the larger of the two opposition parties, Reform, had voiced their criticisms of Helme following Sunday's interview, including the party's leader, Kaja Kallas, who tweeted Sunday evening that:''It is so embarrassing for the Estonian government to act this way towards the Finnish people, the Finnish Prime Minister and women."
Writing on his social media page on Sunday evening, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said that: "Finland is our close friend and companion, with whom all of Estonia's government has worked with good and close cooperation."
"This has not been affected by what kind of democratic parties belong to, or are run by, the coalitions in both countries."
Several other Centre Party leading members also expressed their concerns over the incident on the party's social media page, ERR reports.
Editor: Andrew Whyte