Economic Minister quits over far-right links

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Minister for Economic Affairs of the newly formed alliance government Vilhelm Junnila on Friday decided to resign following the controversy raised among both the oppositions and ruling parties’ leaders over his links to far-right groups.

Junnila, the leader of radical rightist party Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party), the second largest component of the four-party alliance government, made the announcement in a statement issued by his party just after 10 days of formation of the right-wing government.

“I think it is impossible for me to continue as a minister in a satisfactory way," said Junnila in the statement, adding that he took the decision for the continuation of the government and reputation of Finland despite the trust of the party and the parliamentary group.

Prime Minister Petteri Orpo, also Chair of the conservative Kansallinen Kokoomus (National Coalition Party-NCP), the largest component of the government welcomed the decision of resignation announced by Junnila.

"I am satisfied with this solution. It was the right solution and it was the only possible solution," Orpo said at a press conference during EU summit in Brussels.

Earlier on Wednesday, Junnila survived a no-confidence motion in the parliament by 95 votes to 86 with three abstentions and 15 lawmakers remaining absent.

Oppositions Suomen Sosialidemokraattinen Puolue (Social Democratic Party of Finland-SDP), Vihreä Liitto (Green League) and Vasemmistoliito (Left Alliance) brought the no-confidence motion where seven lawmakers of the ruling Suomenruotsalainenkansanpuolue (Swedish People’s Party of Finland-RKP) also cast votes against the minister while the rest two lawmakers of RKP remained absent.

Appointment of Junnila as the Minister for Economic Affairs created strong criticism as he joked about his election number referencing 'Heil Hitler', campaigned at an election under the "gas" slogan.

He also spoke at least one event organised by a far-right group.

The new alliance government took office on June 20, 2023.

  •  Minister
  •  Junnila
  •  quits
  •  Far-right


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