(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 24, 2019 Mart Helme, then chairman of the far-right Estonian ERKE party, gives a press conference in Tallinn, Estonia. - Estonia's far-right Interior Minister Mart Helme resigned on November 9, 2020 after his comments about the US election calling Joe Biden a "dirtbag" sparked outrage from government colleagues. (Photo / AFP)
Estonia's far-right interior minister, Mart Helme, resigned Monday, a day after he called President-elect Joe Biden and his son Hunter “corrupt characters” without providing further details or evidence.
“Last night I decided to resign (when) looking at the slander and lies produced by the Estonian media,'' said Helme, of the Estonian Conservative People's Party, or EKRE.
“I am tired. I did nothing yesterday that would endanger Estonia's security. I have not said anything that has not already been told by the American media, the American free media,'' he told public broadcaster ERR.
On Facebook Sunday, Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas urged Helme and his son Martin to stop issuing unsubstantiated statements that he said damage Estonian and U.S. bilateral relations. Ratas congratulated Biden and stressed the U.S. elections were ``fair, free and transparent.''
The populist EKRE, which Helme co-founded, emerged from a March 2019 election as Estonia's third-largest party.
In July, his son Martin took over the EKRE chairmanship. Both men have been embroiled in various political scandals in Estonia in past years due to their controversial public comments.
On Sunday, they appeared together on an Estonian radio show where Martin Helme said that “there is no question that these elections (in the United States) were falsified.”
“If this (U.S. election result) goes through, then the Constitution will no longer apply in America,'' he added.
On Monday, Martin Helme told reporters that what he said was what ``the whole of the U.S. media is saying. The press (in Estonia) is not telling the Estonian people what the entire American media is saying, but I did it _ election fraud,'' the younger Helme said, according to the Baltic News Service.
The comments are seen as highly embarrassing to Estonia, a small former Soviet republic of 1.3 million and a European Union and NATO member that is a staunch ally of Washington