The far-right leader and number 2 in the Finnish government, Riikka Purraapologized this Tuesday for some old racist statements, highly criticized within the Executive.
The case occurred two weeks after another minister, also from his formation (the Finns Party), resigned due to pro-Nazi statements that tarnished the first days of the government of Conservative Prime Minister Petteri Orpo.
Purra, leader of the nationalist anti-immigration party and member of the government coalition, was accused Monday of having used multiple racist, violent or anti-Muslim expressions in comments published in 2008 on the blog of another far-right politician, Jussi Halla-aho, who in 2012 was convicted of a crime against religious peace.
In said blog, the current vice-premier wrote: “If anyone is in Helsinki, does anyone join in spitting on beggars and beating black children?”
At first, Purra declined any responsibility for those statements but, in the end, he apologized. “I apologize for some stupid comments I made 15 years ago and for the emotion and damage they caused. I’m not perfect,” she tweeted.
The 45-year-old representative-elect was recognized as the “riikka” user in that forum. Her statements, aired on social networks, were highly criticized by the Finnish government.
“Writing like that is unacceptable, whoever they are from, whatever their party,” said Anders Adlercreutz, minister for European affairs and a member of the small Swedish-speaking party that is a member of the governing coalition.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö urged the government, from the NATO summit in Vilnius, “to adopt a clear position of zero tolerance towards racism”.
At the end of June, the recently appointed Finnish Finance Minister Vilhelm Junnila had to resign due to the scandal caused by some old pro-Nazi statements of his.