Saturday 8/15/20

Estonian far-right leader who mocked Sanna Marin named his son sucessor

Helme also referred to the Finnish government's programme as a "revenge" for the Reds for their defeat in the Finnish civil war.
The Estonian Interior Minister Mart Helme. Photo: Facebook.
The Estonian Interior Minister Mart Helme. Photo: Facebook.

Estonia's far-right party EKRE elected Finance Minister Martin Helme as its new chairman on Saturday.

The 44-year-old was chosen at a party congress in the capital Tallinn and will take over from his father, Mart Helme, who is Estonia's interior minister.

The elder Helme, who is 70, founded the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) in 2012 and had led it until withdrawing from the post last month. He will now serve as deputy party leader.

A a member of the Estonian government, Mart Helme made headlines in Finland in December 2019, shortly after Sanna Marin's appointment as Prime Minister. In an interview, he mocked the background of Sanna Marin by calling her 'a shop-cashier' because in the past she worked as a saleswoman.

Helme also referred to the Finnish government's programme as a "revenge" for the Reds for their defeat in the Finnish civil war. His statements forced Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid to call her Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinistö to formally apologize.

Due to this diplomatic spat, Helme had to undergo a no-confidence vote in the national parliament, which he survived.

Good relations with Perussuomalaiset

The anti-EU and anti-immigration party often rails against immigration. It has been a member of the Estonian government since a shift to the right by the electorate in the 2019 parliamentary elections.

EKRE is in very good relations with the Finnish True Finns (Perussuomalaiset). It has regularly caused a stir with scandals, provocations and disparaging statements in the small Baltic nation.

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