Comment: Of all the Finnish presidential hopefuls, Social Democrat Paavo Lipponen has been one of the most outspoken against the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party’s far-right wing led by MP Jussi Halla-aho. In May he said that this far-right group should be isolated from the PS.
The attack against the PS by Lipponen comes after Halla-aho was suspended for two weeks from the party for suggesting on Facebook that Greece should install a military junta to quell protests. Halla-aho is chairman of the administration committee of parliament.
“The Finns party’s parliamentary group and the party leadership don’t seem to realise what kind of issues they are joking about,” said Lipponen. “What kind of significance does the minimum punishment have, if the parliamentary group leader still calls dictator comments “humour” even after the “punishment” has been handed down?”
PS head Timo Soini strongly criticized Lipponen’s comments on his blog. He said that he did not accept such smears about the PS “even from Paavo Lipponen.”
SDP Presidential candidate Paavo Lipponen has warned the Finns party not to joke about basic democratic values. In Lipponen’s opinion it is now time to create clear boundaries for the hard right both in politics and in wider society.