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Hirvisaari founds "Change 2011" parliamentary group

Controversial MP James Hirvisaari has established a new parliamentary grouping after his expulsion from the Finns Party.

James Hirvisaari.
James Hirvisaari Image: Yle

Hirvisaari was kicked out of the Finns Party after a series of gaffes including a conviction for inciting ethnic hatred. He has now joined the Change 2011 (Finnish name ’Muutos 2011’) party, which was founded out of the immigration-critical Homma forum message board.

The party demands more direct democracy with referenda to decide many important policies. Hirvisaari claims he had offers from other parties outside Parliament, but eventually went for the Change 2011 banner.

Finns Party leader Timo Soini, who did not sack Hirvisaari or Jussi Halla-aho when they were convicted of inciting ethnic hatred, said the party had tried to raise Hirvisaari ”like a difficult child”.

Hirvisaari’s stunts culminated in a visit to Parliament by Tampere far-right politician Seppo Lehto, who has featured swastikas on his campaign posters. Hirvisaari’s guest performed a Nazi salute in the debating chamber and posted the resulting photo -- taken by Hirvisaari -- on Facebook. The Asikkala MP was then reprimanded by the Speaker of Parliament and expelled from his party.

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