November 25, 2019 / 9:22 AM / 2 months ago

Estonia ousts third far-right minister, coalition stays

TALLINN (Reuters) - Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas said on Monday he had sacked Rural Affairs Minister Mart Jarvik, a member of the ruling coalition’s far-right EKRE party, saying he could no longer trust him.

Jarvik was the third minister from EKRE to be dismissed in the past six months.

EKRE had previously threatened to leave the coalition if Jarvik was fired, but Ratas said all three coalition parties had agreed to continue in government.

“All coalition partners want to continue in this difficult situation,” Ratas said.

A special commission set up by Ratas said last week it found a number of misdoings at the ministry. Jarvik had also overstepped his responsibilities by trying to give directions to the Veterinary and Food Board, it said.

“I cannot say that he had regained my trust in him,” Ratas said. “I told him it would be best if he would leave on his own request. He declined to do that.”

EKRE, the second largest partner in Estonia’s government, has a programme that includes strict immigration policies and a pledge that Estonia will not take in refugees as part of a European Union-wide quota system.

Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Johan Ahlander; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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