The former chairman (1979-89) of the Rural Party (SMP), Pekka Vennamo, linked Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP Olli Immonen’s recent column to Nazis, according to tabloid Iltalehti. The far right PS MP wrote in his most recent blog entry about how nationalism should play a central role in Finnish politics.
Vennamo, who is the son of Veikko Vennamo, the late founder and legendary political figure of the SMP from which the PS emerged in the mid-1990s, doesn’t spare Immonen much sympathy. ”[Using the term] nationalism always brings Nazis first to mind,” he said.
Immonen, who is chairman of the extremist anti-immigration Suomen Sisu association that aims to keep Finland white, didn’t take the former SMP leader’s views lightly. “Pekka Vennamo is a turncoat and an old nut,” he said.
The former party chairman said that SMP was never against immigrants and even less against the EU. “We were warmly in favor of the country joining the EU and being in the euro,” he said.
Despite assurances by PS’ chairman Timo Soini that his party isn’t racist or that it harbors racists, its anti-immigration wing has found a permanent home in the PS.
Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja has called Soini’s relationship with the PS’ far right as a pack with the devil.
He writes: “The spirit that Soini opportunistically freed from the bottle by accepting extremist [candidates] of the Suomen Sisu [association] to run for office will soon permanently tarnish the ability of the party to cooperate with other ones and may even soon threaten Soini’s position as party leader.”