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ESTONIA: “I would not be soft-spoken as president”

Tomorrow will see the congress of the Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) where the coalition party will elect a new chairman. Current chair Mart Helme said on Saturday that he will not be running again. He is working on his speech to fellow EKRE members today. Helme says in an interview to Postimees that he considered giving up the position of chairman already before the previous congress.

What will you tell members of the party tomorrow?

I will tell them that a new chairman is not the end of the world and that they can still count on me. I will also tell them that every member of the party – not just members of the government and MPs – and its supporters are doing something that is greater than all of us. We are making sure Estonia survives. I urge everyone to contribute [towards that goal] with as much or as little as possible as our pooled contribution is great. I will also continue to contribute as far as I have strength and ability.

You’ve said that you run a tight ship at the interior ministry just as you run your family. What kind of a father is Mart Helme?

Everyone needs to be considered and given a chance to realize their strengths, while support is needed in case of weaknesses. It is largely the same story with the party. The party is big, but one needs to support weaker regions and encourage stronger ones while looking for a balance. That is the most important thing – recognizing and motivating people. If you do that before giving someone new tasks, they feel like they really can rise above. It applies both to one’s family and organization. I have headed various institutions and I believe that people who have worked for me have felt that I do not discriminate and always try to gauge people’s strengths and weaknesses.
— see full story Postimees