Papers: Ratas too accommodating dealing with EKRE

From left, Mart Helme (EKRE), Mailis Reps (Centre), Jüri Ratas (Centre), Martin Helme (EKRE), at the latter's country house in Lääne County.
From left, Mart Helme (EKRE), Mailis Reps (Centre), Jüri Ratas (Centre), Martin Helme (EKRE), at the latter's country house in Lääne County. Source: Social media.

Estonia's largest newspapers agreed in their Monday editorials that Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) has been too accommodating towards EKRE, and that the much-cited "red lines" of the prime minister, limits of a certain brand of politics and good taste that he said after the general election he wouldn't accept, no longer exist.

Estonia's largest paper by circulation, Postimees, wrote in its Monday editorial that in his meeting for the "family picture with red toy car" taken at the summer home of finance minister Martin Helme (EKRE) on Friday, the prime minister had yet another opportunity to stress that EKRE's freestyle approach to government politics can't go on, and to confirm that "the working atmosphere has been restored and we continue to tackle important challenges."

"It is perfectly clear that EKRE can do whatever they want also in the future, because—as [EKRE's] Moonika Helme puts it—the most important thing is the Reform Party's ruin. And that also to Ratas, who has accepted his junior partner's casual apologies without putting up a big fight," the paper wrote.

Daily Õhtuleht wrote that Estonia doesn't have a prime minister, saying that Ratas "made his choice" on election night, and that the results of this decision are what defines Estonian politics today. Ratas is holding on to power at all cost, the paper wrote. "Before the elections there was talk about 'red lines,' but they don't exist anymore for the prime minister. There is only power, and he won't let go of it," Õhtuleht said.

The paper points to a statement by Moonika Helme, EKRE member and wife of party chairman Mart Helme, who after Centre and EKRE's Friday meeting said that keeping the Reform Party down is more important than the issue of police chief Elmar Vaher, and concludes that "as we have a coalition government, this means that the Centre Party is of the same view. That Jüri Ratas is of the same view. Is that a prime minister? The third coalition partner, Isamaa, in a broader sense is meaningless, and wasn't even taken along to this meeting," the paper wrote in its editorial.

Daily Päevaleht thinks that at this point, the Helmes as well as Ratas "deserve to resign."

"Mart Helme for trying, with the help of his son's lies, to illegally remove the director-general of the Police and Border Guard Board, Elmar Vaher," and then for lying again when he insinuated that Vaher had made it all up to "stab him in the back," the paper wrote.

Business daily Äripäev wrote in its editorial that EKRE by now has pushed things far enough for the inevitable repercussions to make it impossible for Ratas' government to continue, which is why it is "in Estonia's interest" to break it up.

While the Helmes' earlier behavior could be overlooked and there was room for the feeble hope that they would stop it at some point, "it is fairly clear now that this isn't going to happen," Äripäev wrote. "On the contrary, the noise-making has become worse, and it seems that it is all set to end in a big bang. Time and again EKRE pushes things farther to see if they can get away with it. Prime Minister Jüri Ratas can't handle the hooligans, because he isn't planning to chance his own behavior either."


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Editor: Dario Cavegn

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