European liberals’ leader urges the Estonian PM not to ally with the far right

The leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, Guy Verhofstadt, is urging the Estonian prime minister, Jüri Ratas, not to form a coalition with the far-right Estonian Conservative People’s Party, EKRE.

Verhofstadt, the leader of the the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, that the Jüri Ratas-led Estonian Centre Party belongs to on the European level, sent the Estonian PM a letter saying he “firmly” asks him “not to form a coalition with the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia, a far-right party which is reminiscent of fascist regimes in Europe”, the Guardian reported.

“It is my firm belief that such a cooperation would be harmful for the Estonian society and its geopolitical position, and also cause irreparable damage to our excellent cooperation inside the Liberal family,” he added.

Ratas is currently involved in coalition talks with EKRE, widely regarded as far-right and even outright fascist, racist, homophobic and xenophobic, and the moderate conservative party in Estonia, Isamaa (Fatherland). EKRE won 19 seats in the 3 March election, making it the third-largest parliamentary party after the centre-right, liberal Reform Party, and the Ratas-led Centre Party.

Ratas previously refused to start coalition talks with the Reform Party, the winner of the election, and Isamaa also refused to start coalition talks with the Reform Party.

The prime minister had previously promised not to cooperate with the far-rightists, a promise he has since reversed.

EKRE wants to get rid of the Co-Habitation Act that allows same sex couples to register their relationship, and its members have expressed racist, homophobic, xenophobic and outright Nazi-favouring views.

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Cover: Members of a neo-Nazi anti-immigrant group, Soldiers of Odin, at the EKRE torch march in Tallinn’s Freedom Square on 24 February 2019.