Controversial Estonian politicians form the far-right EKRE party have questioned the legitimacy of Lithuania’s October parliamentary elections, saying they have been swayed by the “deep state”.
During a radio show on Sunday, former interior minister and member of the EKRE party Mart Helme said the Lithuanian elections were a “transparent, deep-state scheme, which was enabled to be pushed through”.
According to the Estonian public broadcaster ERR News, he appeared on the show together with his son Martin Helme, the country’s finance minister and leader of the Conservative People’s Party (EKRE).
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis took to social media to reply to the pair’s comments, saying that “trust in democracy and common sense helped us build our countries stronger and closer” and that “your belief in our democracy will help us believe in your common sense”.
Urmas Reinsalu, the Estonian foreign minister, also posted on social media, saying he had asked Helme to clarify his statements “to avoid misunderstandings”.
Meanwhile, Martin Helme blamed the media for alleged “fake news”, saying that Lithuania was discussed briefly in the show and “in the context of how the media and internet giants manipulate the public” and “it was never claimed that there had been electoral fraud”.
In November, Mart Helme caused a backlash from the country’s top level officials for calling the US election rigged, which led to his resignation.