EKRE throws out Tartu politician, Helme family again accused of takeover

Indrek Särg.
Indrek Särg. Source: Margus Ansu/Eesti Meedia/SCANPIX

The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) has thrown out Tartu politician and candidate in the March 3 general election, Indrek Särg. Särg didn't make it into parliament despite getting four times as many votes as controversial EKRE MP, Ruuben Kaalep, but was left out.

Särg told local paper Tartu Postimees (link in Estonian) that the explanations he received from EKRE's board were spurious at best.

"I've become an inconvenience for the party's two leading characters," Särg told the paper, adding that party chairman and Minister of the Interior Mart Helme and his son, Minister of Finance Martin Helme, continue to mix family and politics.

Särg was the party's second-most popular politician with local voters in Tartu. In the March 3 general election, he received 2,223 votes, four times as many as Ruuben Kaalep's 566, coming in just after Jaak Valge. He still didn't get elected, as he held a lower list position than the much weaker Kaalep.

This isn't the first time that a popular local politician gets left out in order to give a boost either to a Helme family member, or a member of their inner circle.

Previously a candidate for parliament, Mart Saarso, the party's leading man in the Hiiu, Lääne and Saare voting district, left EKRE in late 2018. Despite his popularity, the party internally demoted him in favor of Helle-Moonika Helme, wife of Mart and mother of Martin.

Criticism of EKRE's first family isn't appreciated either, as Maria Kaljuste commented after she was thrown out in 2017. According to Kaljuste, she had to leave because she had dared to criticize members of the Helme family.

Särg sees what happened to him in the party's Tartu branch as a similar development.

According to party chairman, Mart Helme, the situation in EKRE's Tartu branch has been "getting worse already for a while." The party is accusing Särg of having violated its statutes in the process of arranging and leading the general meeting of the local branch.

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Editor: Dario Cavegn

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