The first day of Perussuomalaiset (PS) annual congress in Joensuu (July 29-30) did not produce any surprises but reinforced the party’s anti-immigration, and especially its anti-Islam and anti-cultural diversity stand. The party leadership, starting from Timo Soini to its new secretary, Riikka Slunga-Putsalo, confirm this.
Soini, who was reelected chairman of the party by a landslide, announced that he would not run for EuroMP in 2014.
“There are two reasons for this: I can’t afford to and I do not want to,” Soini was quoted as saying on YLE in English.
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The new vice president of the PS is Jussi Niinistö, a member of the far right Suomalaisuuden liitto that campaigns against mandatory Swedish at school. Hanna Mäntylä and Juho Eerola were elected second and third vice president, respectively.
Niinstö’s political colors became evident in September 2011, when he stated in parliament Nazi playwright Hans Johst’s Schlageter, “Wenn ich Kultur höre … entsichere ich meinen Browning” (“Whenever I hear of culture… I release the safety-catch of my Browning”).
Niinistö replaced the word culture with parliamentarism when he mentioned Schlageter’s quote.
Eerola, who got elected to parliament thanks to his anti-immigration views and ties to far right associations like Suomen Sisu, which is no longer a member, doesn’t have the stomach to accept cultural diversity. One of his most infamous quotes is: “I am attracted to fascism and especially the economic policies of Benito Mussolini.”
Eerola was party second vice president in 2012-13.
Slunga-Putsalo was one of the 12 members that drafted and signed the anti-immigration Nuiva Manifesto, which aims to undermine immigrant and visible minority rights in Finland.
The type of immigration policy supported by Slunga-Putsalo would limit social aid for a year to all new immigrants that move to the country.
Another aim of the Nuiva Manifesto is to halt immigrants that would have a “negative” impact on society. It supports, however, immigrants whose impact would be “neutral or positive.”
While Slunga-Putsalo and Eerola, who signed the Nuiva Manifesto as well, won’t tell you what groups would be “negative” to Finland, it’s easy to understand that they mean Muslims, Africans and other visible immigrants from outside the EU.
Another example of the PS’ democratic credentials was inviting EuroMP Morten Messerschmidt of the far right Danish People’s Party to Joensuu to greet the PS delegates.
In 2007, he was charged with singing Nazi marching songs and giving the Hitler salute in a bar in Tivoli, the major tourist attraction in central Copenhagen.
Messerschmidt was cleared of such charges in 2009 by a court, which forced the daily BT to compensate him for libel. Together with two other DPP members in 2001, however, Messerschmidt was sentenced for 14 days for ethnic agitation. A DPP ad in Studiomagazinet claimed that Denmark would face mass rapes, violence, insecurity, forced marriages, women would be oppressed, and gang crime if the country became a multiethnic society.