Motion of no confidence in Estonian interior minister fails

  • 2019-12-17
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - A motion of no confidence in Interior Minister Mart Helme failed in the Estonian parliament on Tuesday. 

The 101-seat chamber rejected the censure motion with 44 votes in favor and 42 against, with no abstentions.

The motion would have required 51 votes to pass.

The group of the opposition Reform Party filed the motion for the censure of the interior minister in connection with remarks made by the minister and chairman of the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) about Finland's new prime minister and the new government of Finland.

"This is already the second time that we have to express no confidence in Interior Minister Mart Helme. It looks like one has run out of people to be insulted in Estonia and has to take on the government and the prime minister of Finland," chairman of the Reform Party Kaja Kallas said.

"We could offer also a tally of attacks by Mart Helme on members of the Riigikogu, attacks on different groups of people, insults to the left and right, yet we find that with his attack on the government of Finland and Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin alone he has harmed the relations between Estonia and Finland, the reputation of the Estonian state, degraded women and taunted ordinary working people," Kallas said.

The leader of the largest opposition party said that a person who is lacking self-criticism, but who on the other hand has morbid hatred of everything different from them, primarily women, cannot be a member of the Estonian government.

Helme on a radio broadcast on Sunday called into question the competence of Finland's new Prime Minister Sanna Marin and the new government of Finland.

Among other things, the minister and party leader said that a shop assistant girl has become the prime minister in Finland. 

Marin has said that she worked as a shop assistant in a supermarket in her younger years.

The Finnish parliament last Tuesday approved Marin, deputy chair of the Finnish Social Democratic Party, in a 99-70 vote, making the 34-year-old Finland's youngest sitting head of government. Marin was elected prime minister designate following the resignation of Antti Rinne after losing the trust of coalition partners for reasons connected with the postal workers' strike after just six months in the office. The five parties that make up the government of Finland remain unchanged. 

Helme made the comments about the new prime minister and the government of Finland during a broadcast on a private radio station affiliated with EKRE.