TALLINN - Seven former interior ministers of Estonia have addressed a letter to Interior Minister Mart Helme, demanding that the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) minister resign from his job.
"We are appealing to you in concern about our Estonian state. Your words and actions and those of your son and fellow party member, Finance Minister Martin Helme, over the last few days have been damaging to Estonia's image and security. You have crossed a red line in Estonia," it stands in the statement signed by former interior ministers Kalle Laanet, Margus Leivo, Hanno Pevkur, Katri Raik, Mart Rask, Ain Seppik and Olari Taal.
"Forcing the head of the Police and Border Guard Board to leave using the working methods of Germany of the 1930s or of the investigative bodies of the Soviet era is inappropriate. This is what Martin Helme did in the outgoing week while performing your duties on your behalf, when he put before the director general a prepared letter of resignation and another document bearing the name of the ministry's secretary general, although in the latter's words no one had talked to him. These methods, which are appropriate for a repressive power, have no place in Estonia. Unfortunately, you did not condemn this behavior either. On the contrary, you justified and defended it," the former ministers said.
The statement says that getting rid of officials in one's partisan interests has no place in Estonia, and calls for the minister of the interior to act in a statesmanly manner and give a clear message that behavior like this is not "new normal" in Estonia.
"We unequivocally condemn your and your close party companions' behavior. Estonia deserves a minister of the interior who is a statesman," it stands in the latter.
Mart Helme is the chairman of EKRE, second biggest of the three parties making up the government coalition in Estonia.