Päevaleht, Delfi: Martin Helme most influential person in Estonia

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Martin Helme watching over the Riigikogu cabinet hall from a balcony. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL) and portal Delfi have published their sixth annual list of the most influential people in Estonia, choosing Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) leader and Minister of Finance Martin Helme for the top spot.

Editor-in-chief Urmo Soonvald wrote that Martin Helme is the man behind bringing in a new political reality and style (link in Estonian).

Soonvald wrote: "Helme /.../ has dictated the public media space, legislation, has halted necessary decisions for Estonia, empowered both necessary and unnecessary actions for the country, aped Donald Trump, united his supporters while also antagonizing his opposition.

"He has transformed Estonia into a battle ground, where all actors are seen as political pawns, and individuals find they are apparently part of some political gambit."

According to Soonvald, Helme and his actions must be assessed critically, to figure out if he is cause or consequence; whether or not everyone has ended up in his chess game in accordance with their strengths and weaknesses.

"Why is each one of his political hooks swallowed up, even though everyone knows that his pronouncements often contain more provocation than ideology. We all tap into, and thus cultivate, the Helme phenomenon," Soonvald continued.

Former receipents of the crown of most influential in Estonia have been social scientist and politician Marju Lauristin, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, President Kersti Kaljulaid and influential businessman and owner of the Postimees Group Margus Linnamäe.

EPL and Delfi are both part of the Ekspress Meedia group, which also publishes weeklies Eesti Ekspress and Maaleht, and various magazines.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste, Andrew Whyte

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