Former President Ilves: Coalition a medieval, Taliban-like organization

Toomas Hendrik Ilves.
Toomas Hendrik Ilves. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Former President Toomas Hendrik Ilves has hit out at the current coalition granting its largest component of the annual, so-called 'protection money' to a non-profit which opposes abortion, likening the Center/EKRE/Isamaa alliance to the Taliban.

Evening paper Õhtuleht reported (link in Estonian) that Ilves wrote on his social media account: "TFW (social media-ese for 'that feeling when' - ed.) you country is ruled over by a medieval, uneducated, low-life Taliban-style government which thinks that banning gay marriage is the most pressing issue facing the nation, but your health and that of your parents, grandparents and children is ten times less significant, but we have to do away with the gays."

As reported on ERR News, the largest recipient of the "protection money" scheme, traditionally doled out ahead of the state budget passing, was a four-month-old NGO which organized an anti-abortion march in August, and received €141,000 from the three coalition parties.

Additionally, the coalition parties, Center, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and Isamaa, gave a total of around a million euros (from a €6.4 million total) to around 75 religious or related organizations this year, compared with €70,000 to the volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit).

This year's "protection money" round was a joint effort from the three coalition parties rather than making their entries separately as in previous years.

While the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE) also took part in the process, granting around €300,000 to various social and sporting projects, the larger of the two opposition parties, Reform, has long declined to take part in the scheme, referring to it as a form or corruption.

Ilves was also referring in his tweet to current plans to hold a referendum on the definition of marriage in April 2021. The question will ask Estonian citizens whether marriage should continue to be defined as between one man and one woman, in Estonian legislation, as it is currently in the Family Law Act. The original intention of the policy, which EKRE got into the coalition agreement signed in late April 2019, was to alter the Constitution to include this definition – the Constitution makes no reference to marriage – but legal experts say that changing the Constitution is a lengthy process which cannot be done off the back of one referendum – assuming the majority of respondents vote "yes" to the question posed.

Toomas Hendrik Ilves was President of the Republic of Estonia over two terms, 2006-2016.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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