Estonia apologises after minister taunts Finnish PM as 'sales girl'

HELSINKI/TALLINN (Reuters) - Estonia apologised to Finland on Monday after Estonia's interior minister mocked Finland's new prime minister -- the world's youngest-serving government leader -- as 'a sales girl' and questioned her ability to run the Nordic country. Mart Helme, 70, Estonian interior minister and leader of the populist far-right party Ekre, on Sunday ridiculed Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, 34, and her government, in which four out of five coalition leaders are women under 35. 'Now we see how one sales girl has become a prime minister and how some other street activists and non-educated people have also joined the cabinet,' Helme said on his party's radio talk show

Reuters December 17, 2019 00:12:42 IST
Estonia apologises after minister taunts Finnish PM as 'sales girl'

Estonia apologises after minister taunts Finnish PM as sales girl

HELSINKI/TALLINN (Reuters) - Estonia apologised to Finland on Monday after Estonia's interior minister mocked Finland's new prime minister -- the world's youngest-serving government leader -- as "a sales girl" and questioned her ability to run the Nordic country.

Mart Helme, 70, Estonian interior minister and leader of the populist far-right party Ekre, on Sunday ridiculed Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, 34, and her government, in which four out of five coalition leaders are women under 35.

"Now we see how one sales girl has become a prime minister and how some other street activists and non-educated people have also joined the cabinet," Helme said on his party's radio talk show.

His comments prompted the opposition to call for his resignation, while Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid asked Finland's President Sauli Niinisto to pass on her apologies to Marin and her government.

Social Democrat Marin, who has spoken about growing up in a disadvantaged family, worked as a cashier before studying at university and embarking on a political career.

"I'm extremely proud of Finland. Here a poor family's child can educate themselves and achieve their goals in life. A cashier can become even a prime minister," Marin wrote on Twitter.

Helme, a former Estonian ambassador to Russia, is known for outspoken statements that regularly embarrass Prime Minister Juri Ratas and his Centre Party, Ekre's coalition partner.

Ekre was accepted for the first time into a government coalition in April, after Ratas lost parliamentary elections but clinched a deal with Ekre to stay in power.

Estonian opposition leader Kaja Kallas said on Monday the opposition would organise a no-confidence vote in parliament if Helme does not resign after his comments about Finland's new leaders. Previous such attempts have failed.

"The interior minister has offended the Finnish government and personally attacked the newly-appointed Finnish prime minister," she said in a statement.

(Reporting by Anne Kauranen and Tarmo Virki, Editing by William Maclean)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Biden could help unfreeze Colombian peace talks - ELN rebel leader
World

Biden could help unfreeze Colombian peace talks - ELN rebel leader

By Nelson Acosta HAVANA (Reuters) - Joe Biden's election as U.S.

Donald Trump Jr. tests positive for COVID-19 - spokesman
World

Donald Trump Jr. tests positive for COVID-19 - spokesman

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Donald Trump Jr. tested positive for COVID-19 this week and is experiencing no symptoms, according to a spokesman for the son of President Donald Trump.

Brazil passes 6 million coronavirus cases, health ministry says
World

Brazil passes 6 million coronavirus cases, health ministry says

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil surpassed 6 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Friday, the country's Health Ministry said, becoming the third country in the world to pass that milestone after the United States and India. Brazil recorded 38,397 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours and 552 deaths from COVID-19, the Health Ministry said on Friday. The official death toll has risen to 168,613, according to ministry data.