Center, EKRE fail to reach agreement on cause of government crisis

Martin Helme, Jüri Ratas, Helir-Valdor Seeder on Monday.
Martin Helme, Jüri Ratas, Helir-Valdor Seeder on Monday. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Minister of Finance and Chairman of EKRE Martin Helme said no solution to the government crisis was found on Tuesday and EKRE and the Center Party have different views on who caused the crisis. Discussions will continue on Wednesday.

"We will keep talking... We'll have one longer sitting tomorrow. Everyone has a busy schedule today," Helme told ERR on Tuesday.

He said there are several intertwined issued concerning values which must also be discussed.

Helme confirmed the topic of the marriage referendum is part of the talks. He said there was no question of giving it up and Mart Helme's resignation as minister of the interior is not an option.

Chairman of Isamaa Helir-Valdor Seeder said tensions remained high and it is still planned to find a solution. He said personal emotions must be put to one side.

Seeder said the media has also added to the government crisis.

The government crisis started on Friday after comments made by the Minister of the Interior Mart Helme were published in an interview with Deutsche Welle's Russian service.

When asked by the Deutsche Welle journalist Konstantin Eggert if gay people have mounted an offensive and are about to flood Estonia, Helme said they would do well to run away to Sweden.

"They can run to Sweden. They'll have everything there, and they'll be looked upon more politely by everyone," Helme said.

"Do you look at them impolitely?" Eggert asked Helme.

"I indeed look at them in an unfriendly manner," the minister said.

"Nowadays, this is called homophobia," Eggert said.

"It's not homophobia. I'd argue that the people who claim that our referendum is unnecessary are heterophobes. They are barging into the beds of heterosexual people. It is them barging in on us, not the other way around. If they can disseminate their propaganda, we can counter it with different propaganda," Helme said.

Members of all political parties rushed to condemn Helme's comments over the weekend, saying they go against the principles of the constitution which does not allow for discrimination of people by gender, sexuality or race.

The opposition have called for Helme to resign and President Kersti Kaljulaid called Helme's comments "simply revolting". Helme said he was misquoted and did not say gay people should go to Sweden.

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas' described Helme's words as problematic and grounds for a political crisis.

EKRE chairman Martin Helme said on Monday that what has been called into question is EKRE's trust in the PM. He said that Center had attacked EKRE from behind and in a coordinated fashion.

Talks between the coalition parties took place on Monday and failed to reach a conclusion.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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