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Soini stands by Suomen Sisu chair

The Finns party leader Timo Soini has refused to take a stand on his party’s links with the nationalist Suomen Sisu organisation. When asked on Tuesday, he compared the association to a hunter’s club.

Timo Soini
Finns Party chair Timo Soini. Image: Yle

Sunday’s meeting of Suomen Sisu brought anti-racism campaigners out onto the streets of Helsinki in protest. The organisation is openly nationalist, and has been accused of extremism.

At the meeting Finns Party MP Olli Immonen was elected chair, bringing fresh scrutiny to the party’s policies. Immonen told the media he wants to reform Suomen Sisu, and that he rejected racism, but he remains an outspoken immigration critic.

Yesterday Finns party leader Timo Soini said he does not have a view on Immonen’s new role, as he regards Suomen Sisu as an association like any other. He admitted, though, that he was not informed of Immonen’s promotion before it happened.

Soini’s stance was criticised by the Left Alliance leader Paavo Arhinmäki, who said that a refusal to condemn comments immigration-critical comments that ’set people against each other’ amounted to silent acceptance.

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The poignant scenes of the return to Holland of the bodies of the victims of flight MH-17 dominate Finland's press this morning. Alongside the reports on the latest diplomatic moves to try and secure Russian co-operation over the Ukraine crisis, some papers take a moment to revisit Finland's recent run-ins with its eastern neighbour, and explore the worst-case scenario should Russia's economy crash. Elsewhere, papers reveal a widespread lack of background checks on those working with children, and an overview of Finland's economic outlook makes bleak reading.

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