By Enrique Tessieri
What kind of message does the Perussuomalaiset (PS) give when it names Matias Turkkila as the new editor-in-chief of the party’s newspaper and web page? It reinforces what Migrant Tales has been saying all along: the PS will step up their nationalistic and anti-immigration campaign up to the do-or-die municipal election in October.
Turkkila, who used to be a member of the far-right Suomen Sisu association, was PS MP Jussi Halla-aho’s campaign manager in the 2011 parliamentary elections. Halla-aho received 15,074 votes in Helsinki, which is the second-highest amount after Left Alliance chairman Paavo Arhimäki, who got 17,226.
The newly appointed editor-in-chief is editor of Hommaforum, an anti-immigration messageboard site where Migrant Tales has been mentioned on numerous occasions. Hommaforum is closely related to Scripta, Halla-aho’s blog.
Critics of the PS politicians who based their campaigns on anti-immigration and especially anti-Muslim rhetoric are naturally not surprised. Green Party Uusi Suomi blogger Pekka Siikala recently described PS Chairman Timo Soini as “Finland’s most immoral person” over this latest appointment and his sustained failure to deliver on a promise to throw racists out of the party.
Some political observers see Turkkila’s appointment as a last-ditch attempt to repair the PS’ image, which has been tarnished by numerous scandals. Whether he succeeds is a totally different question.
But Soini must succeed in the October municipal elections. If his party does as poorly as in the presidential election, it will mean a long and painful march to the 2015 parliamentary election. The 39 seats won by the party last year are in serious jeopardy.