By Enrique Tessieri
Thanks to hard questions asked by high school students on Thursday’s Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) televised debate to Perussuomalaiset (PS) Timo Soini, the issue of racism in Finland finally got the scrutiny it deserved in the presidential campaign.
Taking into account that an anti-immigration party like the PS won its historic election victory in April, a social ill like racism has got dear little attention in the presidential election.
This fact reveals that Finland is either in deep denial or in shock-and-awe concerning the rise of the PS and the xenophobic atmosphere it has helped to fuel in this country.
But the critical and persistent questions by the high school students on YLE’s presidential debate on Thursday to PS leader Soini on racism in his party encouraged other candidates to grill the populist leader on the topic.
Thanks to the example of the students, there is hope that the beachhead the PS has got in Finland is seriously questioned by those that will lead this country in the future.
Those candidates that denied on the YLE debate that racism had lifted its head in Finland were the usual ones: Soini as well as Christian Democrat hopeful Sari Essayah and Paavo Väyrynen of the Center Party.