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Kanerva Garners Support of Both Party and Government

Foreign Minister Ilkka Kanerva went before his party's leadership on Tuesday to explain the SMS controversy involving the numerous text messages he sent a young model and her sister.

Last week the popular press reported that Foreign Minister Ilkka Kanerva had bombarded a young model with about 200 text messages. Kanerva has since admitted to sending the messages.

Following an account of his actions before his party's leadership on Tuesday, the National Coalition came to the conclusion that Kanerva has the support of his party. Kanerva's position within the party is also not jeopardised because of the recent events.

Pekka Ravi, leader of the National Coalition Party Parliamentary Group, however says he can understand citizens' disappointment with the whole affair.

The Foreign Minister now says that it's up to the voters to decide whether the events which have come to light will influence his future political career. Finance Minister and Coalition Party Chairman Jyrki Katainen says he believes the sensation does not undermine the party's faith in the Foreign Minister.

Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen meanwhile says Kanerva has the support of the government. Vanhanen noted that the recent interest in Kanerva's doings has more to do with voyeurism into a public figure's personal life than anything else.

"I know that curiosity regarding a minister's personal life is a form of popular entertainment for some," described Vanhanen.

This is however not the first time that Kanerva's SMS message contacts have made waves in Finland. A similar case involving Kanerva was also reported in 2005.

At the time Kanerva promised Jyrki Katainen to try to avoid these types of situations in the future, told National Coalition MP Kimmo Sasi to Aamulehti.

A recent controversy over sexual harassment in Parliament and a trial involving an exposé written by a former girlfriend of Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, have recently cast something of a shadow over the image of high-ranking politicians in Finland.

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