Reform whip: Mihkelson could continue in Foreign Affairs Committee role

Mart Võrklaev
Mart Võrklaev Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

According to Mart Võrklaev, chair of Reform's parliamentary group, Marko Mihkelson, who has been caught up in a scandal involving photographs of a minor, could continue as the Riigikogu's Foreign Affairs Committee Chair, due to his high level of competence when it comes to foreign policy. Reform leader and Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said, that premature conclusions should be avoided.

According to Võrklaev, the position of Foreign Affairs Committee Chair is an important one. As Marko Mihkelson has a great deal of experience in the role, Võrklaev sees no reason to consider dismissing him at this stage.

"Marko has provided his explanations. We trust him and his explanations and we believe that Marko, with his vast political experience and his contacts, is certainly the right person for this position at the moment," said Võrklaev.

Võrklaev based his assessment on the fact that no criminal proceedings have been brought against Mihkelson in relation to the incident. He also emphasized that the issue is a personal one and family-related.

"The question is whether something like this has happened in the way the press claims, or as one side is claiming, or whether instead things are the way Marko Mihkelson says they are. Since we have not seen these pictures, do not want to see them, and do not know the details of the case, I think it is premature to condemn a person based on this," said Võrklaev.

"Of course, politicians have a higher level oof responsibility, but right now, we don't know whether anything has happened that would mean Marko should no longer continue in politics, or otherwise. Marko has his own version of (the incident). We have read that. I will say it again, we trust our team member," said Võrklaev.

Kallas would refrain from jumping to conclusions

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said, that she had been aware of the incident involving Marko Mihkelson for a long time. Writing on social media, the Prime Minister said, that it was of upmost importance to protect the privacy of the children involved and that jumping to premature conclusions about the incident should be avoided.

"I found out about what happened when I was forming the (current) government," Kallas wrote.

"I can rely on the fact that the police and child protection services have handled the incident. No investigation has been launched against Marko Mihkelson, and, in the background of this case, there is a very complex dispute and conflicting relationships between the parents of the children (involved)," said Kallas

"The most important thing in this situation is to protect the privacy of children. This is an unfortunate case, which strongly impacts people's private lives, and therefore the reaching of premature conclusions as well as attempting to settle political scores, should be avoided," Kallas added.

On Thursday, Estonian media outlets Postimees and Eesti Päevalaht both reported that Marko Mihkelson, chair of the Riigikogu's Foreign Affairs Committee, had taken inappropriate pictures of a minor. According to Mihkelson, the incident is connected to a family dispute over the custody of children.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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