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Home NATIONALUltranationalist statement causes image problem to Finnish gov't
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Tue, 28 Jul, 2015 03:19:01 AM
FTimes- Xinhua Report by Juhani Niinisto, July 28
File Photo Lehtikuva.
The nationalistic and anti-immigration cohort within the Finns Party appears to be causing increasing embarrassment to the three-party coalition government of Finland.
     Over the weekend centrist Prime Minister Juha Sipila disassociated himself in strong terms from a social media article written by Finns Party's MP Olli Immonen.
     The MP had described multiculturalism as a "nightmare" and had pledged "to fight until the end for our homeland and our Finnish nation". The MP had written in English and the article was thus understandable for international readers.
     It took another day until the Finns Party chairman and Foreign Minister Timo Soini commented on the issue. He said to the newspaper Ilta-Sanoma on Monday that the view "did no good to the reputation of the party" but any decision to oust the MP from the caucus would be subject to parliamentary decision.
     Prime Minister Juha Sipila wrote in a tweet on Sunday that he wants to develop Finland as "an open and international country that is rich in its languages and culture".
     The chairman of the National Coalition Party and Finance Minister Alexander Stubb described multiculturalism as an asset. He said he backs freedom of speech, but does not accept instigation of hatred.
     Local analysts have taken up the multi-faceted composition of the Finns Party. The leading Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat noted in its editorial on Monday that through accepting everyone into the party irrespective of their views chairman Soini took a calculated risk. "Now there is in the party a strong anti-immigration faction that Soini has to tolerate," the newspaper wrote.
     The paper noted that Prime Minister Sipila also took a risk when he insisted on including the Finns Party in the current government. "Now that risk begins to materialize," it concluded.
     The populist Finns Party comprises various ideological groups and the strongly anti-immigration and nationalistic MPs are a vocal minority.
     The party is getting much of its support from disillusioned industrial workers who have lost their employment. It also represents value conservative attitudes.
     Analysts have noted that without the anti-immigration segment the party would not have attained its current status as the second largest in the parliament.
     The centrist chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee Antti Kaikkonen told the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat that "there are prejudices abroad in relation to the Finns Party" and the latest issue will certainly not help diminish the prejudices.
     In the meantime, MP Immonen has defended his views and opposition to multi-culturalism. He got backing from the party's youth league. 
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