On an appearance on daily Postimees' live online broadcast "Otse Postimehest," Estonian member of the European Court of Auditors (ECA) and former prime minister Juhan Parts said that the existence of parties like the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) has a sobering effect on mainstream political parties.
Commenting on the scandal to break out around Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) Director General Elmar Vaher on Thursday, Parts said on the program (link in Estonian) that he didn't think that it would result in the current government falling apart.
"I don't believe that there was a trust issue there; I believe that there was a little bit of emotion involved there, and that's it," he said. "I don't think the government is on track to fall apart."
The former prime minister also doesn't believe that Vaher would work against the Ministry of the Interior. "I've known Elmar Vaher for a very long time," he said. "I wouldn't believe this of him."
On the subject of EKRE in Estonian politics and the government, Parts said that the popularity of political parties like EKRE has a sobering effect on mainstream parties. "In some respects, this sobering that EKRE has brought with it is beneficial to society in the long run," he noted.
He also doesn't believe that anything has happened to Estonia's reputation in Europe as a result of the coalition party. Why a party like EKRE would be invited to join the government is another matter altogether, he added.
"Finland's example demonstrates that dismissing them is the wrong strategy," Parts said. "They are part of prevailing moods in society. If we dismiss them, then they will radicalize."
Editor: Aili Vahtla