Financial Times: MEP Jussi Halla-aho racist track record leaves PS out in the cold

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Success comes with a high political price especially if you base that success on spreading racism and prejudice. That is exactly the case of the Perussuomalaiset (PS),* who are hoping to join the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) in Brussels but have been rejected by them because they see PS MEP Jussi Halla-aho as too racist, according to the Financial Times.

The Financial Times writes in another story that the freshly elected MEP, who was convicted in 2012 for “stirring ethnic tensions,” said “…something about the prophet Muhammad that we dare not repeat on a family blog. The True Finns [PS] also briefly suspended him from the party after he suggested that Greece’s debt problems could only be solved by a military junta [he retracted the comments].”

What is interesting to note is that the same anti-immigration and anti-Islam message spearheaded by Halla-aho and his cronies that was decisive for the PS’ historic victory in the 2011 parliamentary elections, is turning into its political epitaph to ever becoming a credible and mainstream political party.

The 12.9% showing of the PS on Sunday is still a long way off from the 19.1% it won in 2011. The PS’ showing in the presidential (9.4%) and municipal elections (12.3%) were equally disappointing.

If the same trend continues, it means that the PS will face a big upset in next year’s parliamentary elections.

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Knocking at the ECR’s door is another close ally of the PS, the far-right Danish People’s Party (DPP), which won the euro elections in its country by doubling the number of MEPs to 4 from 2009.

According to the Financial Times, both the PS and DPP both have MEPs that were convicted for ethnic agitation and therefore carry a lot of political baggage.

I find it very difficult to believe that [David] Cameron’s Conservatives, with whom we work closely to promote innovative, open and competitive societies, would team up with the True Finns whose rise is to large extent based on xenophobia and backward-looking 1980s nostalgia, writes the Financial Times, quoting one senior Finnish official.

While it’s clear that the PS is eyeing next year’s parliamentary elections and therefore is keen on joining the ECR group in order to get greater respectability, the big question is where they’ll end up in Brussels.

Moreover, even if the PS wishes to make its anti-EU, anti-immigration, homophobic and especially anti-Islam stand mainstream, it’s another question if Europe’s mainstream parties will permit them to join their club.

PS leader Timo Soini says that joining Marine Le Pen’s is out of the question even if the National Front leader has courted the PS to join the European Alliance for Freedom, a new hard-right group spearheaded by the French politician.

That leaves the PS with Nigel Farage’s UKIP and the Europe Freedom and Democracy group (EFD), where members like the Lega Nord of Italy, which praised Anders Breivik for murdering 77 innocent victims on 22/7, are defecting.

Will Farage and Le Penn join forces? Will the PS be part of that new political group?

Time will tell.

Even if anti-EU and anti-immigration groups made gains in countries like France and the United Kingdom, 70% of the European parliament’s 751 MEPs belong to pro-EU groups in the center-left and center-right.

* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The names adopted by the PS promote nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings. 

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