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Finnish government and top ministers survive confidence votes over racism scandals – POLITICO



Finland’s government, as well as Finance Minister Riikka Purra and Economy Minister Wille Rydman, survived votes of confidence on Friday after the far-right Finns Party — a governing coalition member — was ensnared in repeated racism scandals this summer.

Prime Minister Petteri Orpo’s government survived the vote of no confidence after 106 MPs continued to express their support, while 65 voted against. Some 21 MPs submitted blank voting forms and 7 MPs were absent during the entire voting session on Friday.

Both far-right populist Finns Party ministers — who have been under fire for making racist slurs and xenophobic remarks — also remain in office.

Purra won the vote of confidence by 104 to 65 votes, while 23 MPs handed in blank ballots, Finnish media reported.

Rydman’s result was similar, the only difference being that he received the support of two more MPs than Purra.

The Finnish opposition called for votes of confidence on Wednesday, after fierce discussions on the government’s new plans to crack down on racism.

PM Orpo’s proposal — which contains policies such as banning denial of the Holocaust and prohibiting the use of the swastika — did not convince the opposition during the parliamentary debate on Wednesday, Finnish media reported.

The Social Democrats wanted a vote of confidence in the entire government, while the Greens called for a confidence vote in Purra and the Left Alliance demanded one in Rydman.

In July, Purra came under fire for racist remarks in old blog posts, and Rydman was condemned for having sent racial slurs in private messages. Former Economy Minister Vilhelm Junnila — another Finns Party member — had to resign after just 10 days in office over historic Nazi comments.

It’s been quite a scandalous summer for Finland’s government, which has only been in office for three months.

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