Mart Helme, the Estonia’s far-right interior minister, on Monday resigned, just a day after he called President-elect Joe Biden and his son Hunter “corrupt characters” without providing further details or evidence.
“Last night I decided to resign (when) looking at the slander and lies produced by the Estonian media,” said Helme, of the Estonian Conservative People’s Party, or EKRE
“I am tired. I did nothing yesterday that would endanger Estonia’s security,” he told public broadcaster ERR.
“I have not said anything that has not already been told by the American media, the American free media”.
Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas on Sunday urged Helme and his son Martin to stop issuing unsubstantiated statements that he said damage Estonian and U.S. bilateral relations.
Ratas further congratulated Biden and stressed that the U.S. elections were “fair, free and transparent” in a post on facebook.
“Mart Helme should also know very well as Minister of the Interior, that without evidence it is unacceptable to press heavy charges.”
“The members of the Estonian government must remain balanced by commenting on our biggest ally’s internal politics.”
The populist EKRE, which Helme co-founded, emerged from a March 2019 election as Estonia’s third-largest party.
In July, his son Martin took over the EKRE chairmanship and both men have been embroiled in various political scandals in Estonia in past years due to their controversial public comments.
On Sunday, they appeared together on an Estonian radio show where Martin Helme said that there is “no question that these elections (in the United States) were falsified.”
“If this (U.S. election result) goes through, then the Constitution will no longer apply in America,” he added.
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On Monday, Martin Helme told reporters that what he said was what “the whole of the U.S. media is saying. The press (in Estonia) is not telling the Estonian people what the entire American media is saying, but I did it: election fraud,” the younger Helme said, according to the Baltic News Service.
The comments are seen as highly embarrassing to Estonia, a small European Union and NATO member that is a staunch ally of Washington.
While most European leaders have congratulated Joe Biden, Slovenia’s Prime Minister Janez Janša attacked the media, tweeting that “the courts have not even begun to decide.”
Another Trump ally in Europe, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, has also refrained from publically congratulating Joe Biden.