Interior minister: New IT minister once new prosecutor general found

Mart Helme at EKRE's council meeting in Tartu on Saturday.
Mart Helme at EKRE's council meeting in Tartu on Saturday. Source: Madis Hindre/ERR

Interior Minister Mart Helme (EKRE) said Saturday that the appointment of a new foreign trade and IT minister could wait until Estonia had a new prosecutor general, one that was amenable to his party.

Former foreign trade minister Kert Kingo (EKRE) resigned Wednesday evening and was formally released from the job Friday by the president. However, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) which Helme leads has yet to appoint a successor to Kingo.

Wednesday evening also saw an announcement by justice minister Raivo Aeg (Isamaa) where he went back on previous support for current prosecutor general Lavly Perling to continue in her role for a second five-year term.

Perling, who also had the backing of Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) in the role, had faced criticism from EKRE, partly over her marriage to the head of the Internal Intelligence Service (ISS). However, EKRE had not named a potential successor.

On Saturday, Helme told ERR that they had over half a dozen potential candidates to replace Kingo, though named no names, saying that some were from inside the party and some were not.

At the same time, Helme said that if the candidate proposed by the justice minister as new prosecutor general was not to their liking, they might run out their own candidate, making the picking of the new foreign trade and IT minister contingent on an amenable prosecutor general.

Helme also praised Kert Kingo's approach in examining e-voting, a practice which EKRE has been critical of in the past.

Raivo Aeg: Can't understand Helme logic

For his part, Raivo Aeg said Saturday that he fails to understand the logic in Helme's statements.

"It's very difficult for me to comment on this; I do not know how the two can be linked at all," Aeg said.

Justice minister Raivo Aeg (Isamaa). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

"One is a member of the government, the other concerns the appointment of a senior civil servant. a separate procedure and process," Aeg told ERR, adding that as no consensus could be met on Lavly Perling's candidacy for a second term, that this was now off the agenda.

Aeg also noted that EKRE had not put forward their own candidate: "The arguments they put forward are ridiculous."

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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