Reform attacked by Mikser, Tsahkna over EKRE

Reform chairwoman Kaja Kallas and EKRE chairman Mart Helme.
Reform chairwoman Kaja Kallas and EKRE chairman Mart Helme. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Social Democratic Party (SDE) board member and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser and Estonia 200 leader Margus Tsahkna attacked the Reform Party after the latter was unwilling to rule out cooperation with the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) following the 2019 Riigikogu elections. According to Mikser and Tsahkna, this essentially amounts to shunning liberal values.

"The party promising the 'best prime minister' for Estonia finds that the worst thing that could happen to Estonia is a Centre-EKRE [coalition] government," Mikser wrote on Facebook. "At the same time, they won't rule out cooperation with EKRE themselves, because it 'would narrow future room for negotiation.' In reality there is no difference which of our liberal parties ends up sharing the victory pie with EKRE, because by the time the coalition negotiating table is reached, irreparable damage has already been done.

"Let us recall: EKRE is the party who promises to let judges' heads roll, show black people the door, cut off funding to a theatre propagating works they find politically repugnant, and take away rights guaranteed by law to same-sex couples," he noted. "This is the party that praises Nazi infrastructure policy. And so on and so forth."

Two of Estonia's biggest parties are prepared to legitimise this kind of rhetoric and declare its bearer worthy of state power, the minister stressed. "And both of them call themselves liberal parties," he continued. "But this isn't liberalism. Conjuncturism, lust for power, political-technological machination, yes. But liberalism? Most certainly not."

Tsahkna: Reform trading in values

Tsahkna, in turn, noted that Mikser had touched on a very important topic, which is the values according to which one will rule Estonia following the elections.

"If pension increases or the size of support can be negotiated, then values cannot," he said. "For example, when it comes to Estonia's foreign and defence policies, which are survival policies for all of us — EU memberships, NATO allies on our territory, our boys cooperating with allies on missions, being silent or a vocal spokesperson of Putin's aggressive foreign policy, and so on. I'm not even talking about individual freedoms that cannot be half-heartedly agreed upon. And it's that kind of practical policy, that the Reform Party is ruling out any kind of ruling out, as liberal Kaja Kallas said yesterday, that means specifically that principles will be negotiated. Including, accordingly, in foreign policy.

"And it is sad that some public opinion leaders that have otherwise stood for their principles and say to each other, 'Would you look at what is coming out of the mouths of that family Martin Helme and Mart Helme?' and that that is unacceptable to them, are enjoying a secret love of terrorists that is similar to Stockholm syndrome," Tsahkna added.

Kallas: Unlike Ratas, Tsahkna, Ossinovski, we have not held talks with EKRE

"You have previously been beaten by voters for this kind of mating," Reform Party parliamentary group chairman Jürgen Ligi said in response to the recent attack. "We consider Centre and EKRE two cheeks of the same behind. You want to take the place of one of these cheeks, nothing more. The voter is the one whose most critical decision is precisely whether a behind will form. An SDE-Centre government should be avoided as well."

Reform chairwoman Kaja Kallas added that unlike Prime Minister and Centre Party chairman Jüri Ratas, Tsahkna and SDE chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski, neither she nor the Reform Party had ever sat at a government coalition negotiating table together with EKRE.

"In light of this, these attacks against us are especially hypocritical," she added.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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