Finland: vote of no confidence against minister fails

Because of previous far-right contacts and Nazi "jokes", Finnish Minister of Economic Affairs Vilhelm Junnila of the right-wing populist party The Finns faced a vote of no confidence on Wednesday. He narrowly survived, although the Swedish People’s Party of Finland, a coalition partner in the newly formed government, denied him its support. The national press takes the view that despite the motion’s failure Junnila should not remain in office.

Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

Contrary to European values

Helsingin Sanomat wonders:

“To keep the government together, Junnila’s statements were dismissed as a joke, but outside Finland people take a different view. Junnila is Minister of Economic Affairs, and his background is also brought up and raises questions with key trading partners other than Germany and Israel. The condemnation of the Holocaust and the Nazis is at the heart of our common European values. It’s amazing that in Finland it is still possible to gain political support and make a career by making references to the Nazis or playing down the Holocaust.”

Ilta-Sanomat (FI) /

The PM has failed

Prime Minister Petteri Orpo should have removed the minister from power, says Ilta-Sanomat:

“As leader of the opposition, Petteri Orpo often accused the previous government under Sanna Marin of lacking leadership — in some cases rightly so. Now Orpo’s own manoeuvring in the Junnila scandal has been the opposite of leadership. ... Prime Minister Orpo can be sure that he will have to keep explaining Junnila’s ministership both in Finland and abroad as long as the latter is still a minister. The situation is untenable: a minister who is supposed to be promoting Finnish exports abroad while being questioned all over the world about his links to the far right. Orpo should have intervened and replaced him — accepting the risk that the government would collapse because of the Junnila scandal.”