Reform in knots, I just want return to normality, says prime minister

Prime minister Jüri Ratas (Centre).
Prime minister Jüri Ratas (Centre). Source: ERR

Prime minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) says there is no call for a no-confidence motion in his government, adding the Reform Party's plan to do so demonstrates it has tied itself up in knots, ERR's online Estonian reports.

Reform called for a no-confidence motion to go before the Riigikogu at an extraordinary session before the summer recess ends in September. Reform says the government should step down on after two of its ministers, interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE) and finance minister Martin Helme (EKRE) acted unilaterally. Last week, both men tried to remove Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) chief Elmar Vaher from his post; the prime minister overruled them.

"We haven't heard much from the Reform Party this summer, and now they're coming out with their own topics," Ratas told ERR Saturday.

"It seems to me that Reform has tied itself up into a little knot while in opposition and is now trying to get somewhere," he continued, speaking on current affairs show Aktuaalne kaamera.

Ratas also enumerated his view of his administration's successes in its first 100 days in office, a milestone it recently passed.

"There has been no government in Estonia that has discussed climate issues and themes surround climate neutrality so seriously in its first hundred days. Less than a week ago, we opted for some big investments; these are all major and important things," the prime minister said.

Helme and Vaher to meet on Wednesday says prime minister

Ratas added that Elmar Vaher is meeting interior minister Mart Helme on Wednesday, to talk things through. Ratas confirmed Friday that no disciplinary action against Vaher, who the Helmes said had been deliberately misleading over the prospect of redundancies at the PPA, would be taken.

The prime minister also met the interior and finance ministers at Martin Helme's country house in Lääne County on Friday evening; the latter had earlier apologized for overstepping his authority in dealing with interior ministry affairs.

"The interior minister promised me that on Wednesday, when he returns to work, he will meet the PPA chief and they will talk face to face," Ratas said.

"This was certainly some conversation, and in my opinionan emotional situation that was not good; it has to be de-escalated, and I believe it was already resolved yesterday," Ratas continued.

"The meeting lasted 45-60 minutes and my message remained the same. We have no specific facts required at present to release the PPA director general, and I do not support this. I also noted I did not want the initiation of disciplinary proceedings or indeed any type of proceedings. I want peace, peace between the minister and the PPA chief. It's up to those people to make that effort," Ratas went on.

Ratas declined to answer a question on whether and on what basis the Helmes justified their demand for Vaher's speedy resignation, reiterating that Estonia is a state based on the rule of law.

"Such things must be done on a factual basis, but there is no such basis as of today," Ratas said.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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