Gallery: Martin Helme re-elected EKRE chairman
Martin Helme was re-elected chairman of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) on Saturday (April 9) at the party's annual meeting in Tartu. He also called for events on May 9 to be banned.
Helme won 432 votes out of a possible 444 from delegates gathered at the Vanemuine Theater. He was the sole candidate for the position.
EKRE members Mart Helme, Henn Põlluaas and Jaak Madison were elected vice-chairmen. They received 395, 360 and 383 votes, respectively.
In a speech to members, Martin Helmed said Estonia is facing serious challenges which will test both the party and the whole nation. These are the "cost of living", "internal and external peace, the security of the Estonian people" and the "immigration crisis and the strengthening of the nation-state".
"In addition to everything, we must ensure that, in addition to the freedom of the Estonian state, the people of Estonia are also free within that state," he said.
The chairman said the state needs to take strong steps to tackle rapidly rising inflation. One way to deal with this situation, and the most effective, is to lower consumption taxes, Helme said.
The party also believes the CO2 trading system should be abandoned, electricity prices regulated and pensions raised.
Ban pro-Russian rallies on May 9
Helme also called for the government to ban all pro-Russian rallies on May 9, Russia's anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
He said he had a clear message for the government: "On May 9, ban all anti-Estonian, anti-Ukrainian, pro-Russian rallies. No flowers for murderers!"
If this was not done, he said the government would show it did not care about the security of the Estonian people and that "your priority is the establishment of liberal totalitarianism".
The chairman said while many non-Estonians are loyal to Estonia, there are many people who are not and they use Russian symbols such as the black and orange St. George's ribbon on the letter Z, which is a Russian symbol of support for the war in Ukraine.
He called for people who actively support Russia's war in Ukraine to be expelled from Estonia as there is "no justification" for this.
"On the 104th birthday of the Republic of Estonia, the moment has finally come when all non-Estonians here have to choose whether they are on the Estonian side or not. And those who choose the wrong side must realize that they have no future here," Helme said.
He also criticized the Reform-Center coalition's handling of the war, saying the Reform Party sees it as an opportunity to increase its support.
"For the Reform Party, the war is a great PR event, under the guise of which it can realize its long-standing dreams of cheap labor and hate speech," said Helme.
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Editor: Helen Wright