President should resign, says Mart Helme

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Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE).
Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE). Source: Aurelia Minev/ERR

Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) chairman and Minister of the Interior Mart Helme said that President Kersti Kaljulaid should resign as Estonian head of state after an interview was published by American magazine Foreign Policy in which Kaljulaid said that she hates the inciting behavior of EKRE politicians.

"This person does not acknowledge who she is, what her job position is, what kind of powers and what kind of responsibilities she has," Helme said about Kaljulaid according to party spokespeople.

"If she is declaring all over the world that she hates a party that received a strong mandate from voters, there is likely something wrong with her nervous system," he continued. "Worldviews can differ in politics, but blind hatred achieves nothing in politics. Kersti Kaljulaid must resign from her position."

According to Helme, Kaljulaid is influencing domestic affairs via foreign policy, thus putting pressure on Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) to break up the current Centre-EKRE-Isamaa government coalition.

"This is her objective," he stressed, "But she has no constitutional right to do so."

Kaljulaid is inciting hatred and damaging Estonia's reputation abroad, Helme continued.

"Nothing actually came of [Kaljulaid's] declared 100 hate-free days," he said. "When she wore a sweatshirt that read 'Speech is Free,' it seems that only speech disparaging opponents are free in her mind."

Instead, it is the ministers that have to smooth out the president's "stupid statements" on the international arena, the EKRE chairman continued, adding that in the interview in question, Kaljulaid acted once again not as a head of state but as an emotionally upset woman — repeating the words he had first used to describe her following the swearing-in of the new government on April 29.

EKRE MEP also calling on Kaljulaid to resign

Commenting on the Foreign Policy interview on social media, EKRE deputy chairman and MEP Jaak Madison also called upon Kaljulaid to resign as president.

"Her politically biased and unbalanced interview statements unfitting for a president do not deserve further comment beyond the fact that there is one quick solution to her torment — simply resign," Madison wrote on Facebook. 

"Cite whatever as the reason why," he continued. "For example, she can just say that she doesn't want to be president of a country whose government includes EKRE. It would be good and peaceful for everyone, and we could move on with our lives and in a few years Kaljulaid's name would be forgotten.

"Kersti Kaljulaid, do this," Madison concluded. "Otherwise you will have to endure another two years of torment because of us, and you won't be reelected to a second term anyway. Better to just go right away, and yourself."

Kaljulaid to Foreign Policy: I hate them for their behavior

"I hate them for their behavior, and I apologize for the image this might give," Kaljulaid said when asked by a Foreign Policy journalist how concerned she is about EKRE's behavior and position as a member of the government coalition, considering misogynistic, antisemitic, homophobic and racist comments its politicians have made.

"Decent people do not behave themselves this way," the head of state said in an interview given shortly before the May 26 European Parliament elections. "That it is in any way OK to show these signs is not a viewpoint we share in Estonia. I now have to explain their stupid moves and claw back the territory,"

Foreign Policy published an article on Thursday titled "Estonia Battles Its Elected Racists," in which it provided an overview of how, similarly to several other European countries, right-wing populist and euroskeptic powers have seen a significant rise in popularity in Estonia, where they made it to the government for the first time in the form of EKRE.

On April 24, Kaljulaid appointed to office Jüri Ratas' second government. In her speech at Kadriorg Palace, the head of state called for 100 hate-free days from the new administration, expressing hope that politics might continue in the same vein after that.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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