After an initial police investigation into alleged sexual harassment by National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) MP Wille Rydman, the National Bureau of Investigation (Keskusrikospoliisi) announced that it had opened a preliminary investigation into the MP’s activities. Rydman is a staunch anti-Muslim who is unofficially Kokoomus’ Jussi Halla-aho.
Halla-aho is the former chairperson of the far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS), who built his political career in the 2000s by writing Islamophobic, homophobic, anti-Semitic, and sexist blog entries.
While he was not charged with sexual harassment, Helsingin Sanomat revealed the MP’s inappropriate behavior towards women and his weakness for minors in an investigative piece. The story forced Rydman last month to resign from Kokoomus’ parliamentary group.
He has denied the allegations directed at him.
The scandal has not only meant an end to Rydman’s days in Kokoomus, but hurt Kokoomus in the latest opinion poll, where it retreated by 2.2 percentage points, according to Yle.
Riding high in opinion polls thanks to Finland’s Nato membership, the Rydman scandal could put in jeopardy Kokoomus’ chances of winning next April’s parliamentary election. The scandal also raises an important question: Why didn’t Kokoomus do anything about Rydman’s alleged behavior?
Having called for closer cooperation between Kokoomus and the PS, some speculate that Rydman could defect to the PS.
If the following phase of the Rydman scandal is a certain coup de grace for his political career, few will miss him.
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