Some social media reaction to today’s vote that failed to lift Juha Mäenpää’s parliamentary immunity

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Social media reaction to Friday’s vote in parliament that saved Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP Juha Mäenpää from facing ethnic agitation charges has been lively.

Parliament (Eduskunta) voted on Friday not to lift Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP Juha Mäenpää’s parliamentary immunity, which needed a five-sixths majority to pass. The final vote tally was 121 in favor of lifting parliamentary immunity, and 54 against; 24 MPs were absent from the voting.

Parliament debated the matter on Wednesday.

Mäenpää equates his victory to President Juho Paasikivi (1946-56). He considers his “invasive species” comment to “sturdily pursing Finnish interests.”

Below are some reactions on social media to the vote.

“A gloomy and shameful day in the history of Finland. Parliament did not obtain the majority required to remove parliamentary immunity from Juha Mäenpää (Perussuomalaiset, or Basic Finns party) to be prosecuted for the crime of hate speech. Mäenpää compared last year at a session of parliament that people seeking refuge are invasive species. His speech fuelled debate on the limits of free speech and whether incitement of hatred, violence, and racism fell under that category.
For the Basic Finns spokeswoman Riikka Purra, lifting parliamentary immunity from prosecution would have undermined freedom of expression in parliament. For the leader of the party, Jussi Halla-aho, the comparison between unwanted immigration and invasive species was a “humorous comment” to attract the attention of the government that should focus more on these points.
This is very serious, such an argument can justify any outrageous outburst that is said in parliament under the protection of freedom of expression. Let’s be attentive.”

“Shameful and sad.”