Prime minister blasts coalition partner EKRE's LGBT+, prosecutor statements

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre).
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre). Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) has criticized statements made by members of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), a party he is in office with, on the issue of funding for LGBT+ groups, as well as statements made by EKRE leader Mart Helme regarding prosecutor general candidates.

EKRE had a council meeting on Saturday, and also issued a public statement slamming the growth in funding for LGBT+ groups and other organizations it described as ideological. EKRE members and others recently stormed an event organized by LGBT+ activists in Pärnu, forcing the gathering to reconvene at another location.

"Political statements, declarations or petitions on controversial issues in no way contribute to the achievement of shared goals and substantive cooperation, Ratas wrote on his own social media page, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.

"This is all the more the case when entering the ministerial areas where personnel or funding decisions are made," Ratas added.

"The governments of democratic countries do not make political prescriptions as to what associations and initiatives can be supported by public funds, be they human rights, equality … or social welfare [initiatives]," Ratas added.

Ratas noted that the social affairs ministry supports various associationas and activities, using funds from Estonia's gambling taxes, including those which support children, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

Ratas also criticized the line taken by Mart Helme Saturday that the appointment of a new foreign trade and IT minister to replace Kert Kingo (EKRE), who resigned Wednesday amid allegations she had lied to the Riigikogu, would be contingent on the justice minister submitting a candidate for prosecutor general, to replace the outgoing Lavly Perling.

Justice Minister Raivo Aeg (Isamaa) made a volte face on Perling, who he'd previously backed for a new five-year term in the role, as had Jüri Ratas, saying Wednesday that she would not be continuing in the role. Since the announcement came at almost the same time as the Kingo resignation, many have drawn the dots between the two events, claiminig a quid pro quo took place.

Helme also indicated Saturday that the new prosecutor general candidate(s) would need to be amenable to his party in order for things to move forward both on this and the new foreign trade minister, something which left Raivo Aeg scratching his head.

Helme and his party had previously opposed Perling's reappointment, ostensibly on the grounds she is married to the head of the Internal Security Service (ISS).

Ratas denied the link between the resignation of Kingo and Perling being taken out of the running for another prosecutor general term, according to ERR's online news in Estonian, noting that as a political role a replacement minister needed to be found soonest, a move that was up to EKRE.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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