Remarks made by the Finns Party Youth Group Vice Chairman, Toni Jalonen, have sent shockwaves across the country’s political landscape. Giving a speech in English at an ethno-nationalist Etnofutur event in Estonia, Jalonen said he was “a nationalist, a traditionalist and a fascist”.
Unsurprisingly, the F-word caused an outrage in the media and among other political parties and their youth organisations, which were all quick to condemn flirting with such an ideology.
The incident has put the Finns Party chairperson, Jussi Halla-aho, in a difficult position. He described the wording as an unfortunate “blurt” of one individual that has provided ammunition to political rivals and opponents. According to him, there is no room for fascism and racism in the Finns Party.
However, Mr Jalonen’s fascist sympathies seem to resonate positively among the rank and file and especially inside the party’s younger supporters. Johannes Sipola, representing the Lapland Youth Group, went as far as to say “yes, the youth community is openly fascist”.
The debate might erode support for the Finns Party, which is currently over 20% in the polls. It might also have financial consequences. The Ministry of Education and Culture, which funds youth organisations, could now reassess the Finns Party’s application.
(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)