We, 31.05.2023

Helmes’ statements draw flak from EKRE member

Meinhard Pulk
, reporter
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Minister of Finance Martin Helme.
Minister of Finance Martin Helme. Photo: Mihkel Maripuu

The new year’s first episode of the “Räägime asjast” talk show on Tre Raadio did not differ much from the one that cost Mart Helme the post of interior minister in November. This time parliamentary elections in Lithuania were at the heart of the matter. However, initial criticism now came from inside the Helmes’ Conservative People’s Party (EKRE).

Once the hosts got to the topic of the marriage referendum, [member of the Riigikogu Foreign Affairs Committee] Mart Helme gave examples of “creatures manipulated by the deep state” in Europe, touching on the Netherlands and France before settling on Lithuania. “Let us look at the recent elections in Lithuania – it was so obviously a deep state scheme that was launched there and succeeded,” the MP said.

EKRE chairman, Minister of Finance Martin Helme said that the same thing was attempted in Romania. “The exact same pattern.”

Mart Helme was forced to resign in November after he referred to U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden as a dirtbag and joined Martin Helme in claiming that presidential elections in America had experienced massive voter fraud. The latter topic was also treated with in the recent episode, with the hosts expressing concern over what effect the communist shift perspective accompanying the Biden administration could have on America’s geopolitical role.

Unlike the crisis that culminated with the resignation of Mart Helme and sparked resolute criticism from EKRE’s coalition partners, representatives of the Center Party and Isamaa did not wish to comment after the January 3 episode. Both father and son Helme also remained unavailable for comment.

But while government partners met the Helmes’ statements with silence this time around, sharp criticism came from inside the Conservative People’s Party. Head of EKRE in Tallinn’s Kristiine borough Georg Kirsberg wrote on the Facebook page of the EKRE Sõprade Klubi (Friends of EKRE club) that all the “nonsense on election fraud has gone too far.” Kirsberg wrote that such claims should not be made on a massive scale without direct evidence. “I would ask for an end to it lest we are labeled flat-earthers and lumped in with the reptiloids – the party’s rating is ailing as it is!”

Lithuania’s parliamentary elections were held in October and saw a centrist coalition government of three partners take power. The parties’ joint candidate Ingrida Šimonyte became the new PM in December. There were no reports of widespread election fraud. The main concerns were that a part of people who were quarantined due to COVID-19 did not get the chance to vote, while voter turnout was also lower than in previous elections. The first round of voting saw around 170 complaints of alleged violations of the electoral process (regarding bribes or illegal agitation). The second round experienced fewer incidents and reports of alleged tampering numbered 30-40.

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