The problems of the nationalist populist Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party got worse Sunday after its third vice president, Sebastian Tynkkynen, got reelected by a clear majority to head the party’s youth league.
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Tynkkynen got elected with 42 votes against 22 for Sami Vuotila, the PS youth league’s vice president, according to Iltalehti.
Tynkkynen got his membership revoked over a week a go after he unsuccessfully challenged the PS’ leadership demanding that a special congress be convened to debate whether the party should continue in government, according to YLE News.
Considering the sloppy manner in which the PS board revoked Tynkkynen’s membership and that it may have been against the law, it’s clear that the third vice president’s reelection as chairman of the PS’ youth league means more trouble and internal bickering for the anti-immigration party, which has seen its poll ratings nosedive recently.
If Soini and the PS leadership don’t watch out, Tynkkynen may threaten them with their very own Stalingrad, a decisive battle that became a turning point in the war Nazi Germany waged in Russia. If, however, they do succeed in purging Tynkkynen from the party it may well turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory. Soini and the PS leadership face a lose-lose situation.
Tynkkynen, who is demanding that Finland close its northern border with Sweden like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán did with Serbia and Romania, has built ties with far right groups like the Sweden Democrats.
It’s clear that if the party adopted some of Tynkkynen’s demands it could well mean an early exit from government.
Tynkkynen’s acceptance speech after he was reelected is a scary reminder that the far right has found a home in Finland.
“This movement, this nationalist patriotic movement,” he was quoted as saying, “it’s on the rise around Europe. If we really want to we can change the world. If we have the power to do so we have to dare to use it.”
What does Tynkkynen mean by “nationalist patriotic movement(s)?” Does he mean far right parties like the Danish People’s Party, Geert Wilders Freedom Party, Front National of France, Lega Nord of Italy, Hungary’s Jobbik, Golden Dawn of Greece, among others?
It is ironic that Soini, who is an ultraconservative Catholic who opportunistically believes he can control far right politicians like Tynkkynen and others, is being challenged by them.
It’s clear that when people like Tynkkynen get a taste of power they will do everything to get more of it even if it means ditching those that gave him a voice and a political platform, like Soini.
* The Finnish name of the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English-language names adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.