The opposition Reform Party decided at a meeting of its parliamentary group that if Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) does not dismiss Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE) from his post, the Reform Party would initiate a no-confidence motion against Helme.
"The minister of the interior has insulted the Finnish government and personally attacked Finland's new prime minister, thereby undermining Estonian-Finnish relations, " Reform Party chairwoman Kaja Kallas said on Monday. "Neither the prime minister nor the interior minister has taken the opportunity to apologize before Finland and the Finnish prime minister. Jüri Ratas has long since lost any control over what is going on in his government."
Mart Helme's statements undermine Estonia's international reputation, and this is no longer an internal political fight, but rather a situation that is shaming Estonia in general," she continued.
"If Jüri Ratas is in charge of this government, then he has until tonight to submit a proposal for the removal of Mart Helme from office to [President Kersti Kaljulaid at] Kadriorg," Kallas said. "If he fails to do so, we will be forced to initiate a no-confidence motion against Mart Helme."
Social Democrats poised to join no-confidence motion
Social Democratic Party (SDE) chairman Indrek Saar told ERR that the Social Democrats are prepared to join the no-confidence motion against Helme.
The SDE also stated in a press release that members of its parliamentary group found after this "international policy faux pas," Helme cannot remain a member of the government.
"Within the next few hours, we will hold talks with other political powers, after which we will decide our next steps," Saar added.
Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) chairman and Minister of the Interior Mart Helme verbally attacked Finland's new government on Sunday, calling them "reds" that are trying to destroy the country. He also personally criticized Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, who took office on December 10.
Helme later explained that he had been expressing an opinion regarding Finland's new government based on his personal as well as his party's positions. He confirmed that cooperation and ties of friendship between Estonia and Finland would continue.
Editor: Aili Vahtla