Chairman of EKRE and outgoing Minister of Finance Martin Helme said Jüri Ratas, who recently resigned as prime minister, was always looking for excuses as to why it was difficult to work with his party, and did not want to comply with coalition agreements.
Speaking on Thursday evenings' "Esimene stuudio", Helme said that although members of the Center Party have stated that the coalition collapsed due to the behavior of EKRE members, the actual reason was the financing scandal surrounding the Porto Franco real estate development.
Helme noted that during recent months, EKRE and the Center Party had had several deepening ideological confrontations. He said that EKRE felt as though they were not being treated as they should have been.
"One issue was immigration. What we agreed on this summer - the Aliens Act, limiting cheap labor, limiting immigration through universities. This was all stopped and didn't get through the Riigikogu in autumn. Our referendum policies were halted, and the marriage and family themes the same. So there are several topics where we had heated debates. And there was often the feeling that we weren't being treated rightfully in the government. That things got postponed due to nonsense reasons. The debate has two sides," he said.
"I have a feeling that they were looking for excuses as to why it was difficult with us," Helme said.
Helme is sure that the new coalition was already planned before the prime minister resigned.
"The Center Party definitely had some kind of a game plan for what is going to happen. I, in my speculative mindset, am of the opinion that more concrete steps were being taken when the former Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps (Center) resigned because Reps is one of the main members of the Center Party's inner circle, the main political ideologist, and she was left with a lot of free time in which to hold these conversations. And I also think Mailis was upset about leaving," Helme commented.
The show's host reminded Helme of his own words: "Every day we stay in power, we reproduce our own future power through different aspects."
Helme commented that this reproduction of their power stopped because the Center Party did not want to comply with EKRE's promises.
"Why did the renewing of power stop? I see it happened when the time came to comply with our election promises, and our coalition did not have a real wish to do so. And we were very demanding and consistent," Helme said.
He confirmed that with the collapse of the coalition, the deterioration of EKRE's had not started, but admitted that the party members are very upset.
"I have to say that the people inside our party were in extreme shock that things turned out this way. And the people inside our party are very upset with the Center Party because the view is that we were betrayed," Helme said.
Helme added that the coalition between the Reform Party and the Center Party will turn out to be ineffectual.
"When the coalition arrives, it will be a sad and pathetic one. It will start by raising taxes and making cuts. I would like to see how well they sell it during the crisis. They don't have any trust. Everybody knows that the Reform Party is a party which likes to pull the carpet out from under their partners. Now they have ended up with a similar party," he commented.
Helme said that he is leaving the state's finances in a good situation.
Helme: EKRE won't be as crazy in opposition as the Reform Party
The outgoing minister said EKRE will not act as the Reform Party did when in opposition.
"We will definitely not act as crazily as the Reform Party. If we want to know the endless bottom of this political culture, we should look at the two last weeks or the last two years, this is just unbelievable. Zero ideas, zero constructive criticism. We won't act like this," Helme said.
"But we will definitely be a sharp and powerful opposition party and offer an alternative. And let's think now - Kaja Kallas has been able to state that the next coalition's aim is budget balance. This means cuts and raising taxes. Congratulations to all Estonians, especially to Center Party voters, because, by avoiding the marriage referendum, they have brought us tax raises and cuts. Just unbelievable," Helme added.
Helme: We should think about the fact that a member of the government does not have immunity, but a member of the Riigikogu has
Talking about the Porto Franco corruption case, which led to the resignation of Prime Minister Jüri Ratas in the early hours of Wednesday, Helme said while that a member of the government doesn't have immunity, but a member of the Riigikogu does.
"I would like to draw attention to one nuance, which has got me thinking. When Jüri Ratas resigned very quickly - and we don't know who are these two other suspects - the prosecutor hasn't said who the other suspects are and we still don't know a lot about the case, there is just that one nuance, that a member of the government doesn't have immunity," he said.
Helme said EKRE is not a part of the corruption case.
"No, even [state prosecutor] Taavi Pern, who has personally been very active in the case, has said that this is Kersti Kracht's (Helme's advisor accused of corruption-ed.) personal case, and here I will also come back to the fact that nothing has been shown to us that Kersti Kracht isn't able to defend herself in any way," he said.
Helme noted that a huge part of the accusations towards Kracht is incomprehensible, such as those related to KredEx, for example.
"Trying to paint a picture that Kersti Kracht manipulated the government's politics to be able to move €40 million, is ridiculous. It is not true," Helme said.
EKRE criticize the coalition formed by the Reform Party and the Center Party
A press release issued by EKRE says:
January 13 will not only go down in history as the day when the Center Party ended the era of the best, ideologically most broad-based government coalition of recent times due to a corruption scandal - the coalition lowered taxes, improved the economy, raised pensions, initiated pension reform, pulled the breaks on normalizing gay marriages and immigration quota and gave the people a chance to speak up.
Primarily, January 13, 2021 will go down in history as the day when a party - the Reform Party - was re-elected to a government whose history goes hand-in-hand with the history of Estonian political corruption, machinations and lying (the VEB fund, 10 million dollars, plastic bag scandal, corruption in Tallinn) and as a result of whose failed economic policy, nearly 100,000 people left the country.
The decision of the Center Party to form a coalition with another liberal and corrupt party will have extremely detrimental consequences for our country and people. Especially given the fact that the activities of the investigative bodies that led to the left-liberal power change are repeating the previous pattern of influencing the political process.
Under the tactics of the Center Party and the Reform Party, we will face giving our independence to Brussels, the introduction of liberal censorship, the promoting of homosexual relationships becoming a part of national politics, forcing Europe-wide immigration and quota openings, making universities English-speaking, establishing new taxes, relaxing citizenship and language policies, and opening the door to cheap foreign labor.
The Conservative People's Party of Estonia does not intend to accept what the liberals have to offer. We have the task of ensuring the preservation of the Estonian nation, language and culture, through the ages.
We invite all Estonian-minded people to gather under the EKRE flag, so that we can provide our children with a country where the Estonian language and mind-set, marriage between a woman and a man, and a right to choose themselves, are in power.
Editor: Roberta Vaino