Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid on Saturday slammed Interior Minister Mart Helme, founder and deputy leader of the far-right Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), as "not suitable for government" in light of homophobic statements he made.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, Kaljulaid warned against dismissing far-right beliefs as just another political agenda, slamming the EKRE's beliefs as being based on "evil and hate."
Her comments were in response to comments Helme made during an interview with German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, in which he said he did not like homosexuals and told them to go to Sweden.
"A minister with such views is not suitable for the government of the Republic of Estonia," said Kaljulaid, adding that she had expressed her position to Prime Minister Juri Ratas.
Ratas also distanced himself from Helme, saying on Facebook that the EKRE founder's statements are "clearly regrettable" and that homophobia is not part of his government's coalition agreement.
Calls for resign
Estonia's opposition has called for Helme to resign.
He previously caused a stir at the end of 2019 with derisive remarks about Finland's government and the Prime Minister Sanna Marin.
The anti-EU and anti-immigration EKRE has been a member of the Estonian government since a shift to the right by the electorate in the 2019 parliamentary elections.
The party has regularly caused a stir in the small Baltic nation with its scandals, provocations and disparaging statements.