Nearly three dozen candidates vying for a seat in European Parliament elections have been charged with criminal offences over the past 15 years, popular daily Helsingin Sanomat reported on Sunday.
According to the paper’s analysis of data culled from local courts, a total of 33 of the current crop of candidates seeking election were served with criminal indictments between 2004 and 2019. In a field of 269 candidates in Finland, that represents 12 percent.
The paper noted that the outcome was similar to a previous analysis of parliamentary election candidates, which found that 13 percent had been slapped with charges for suspected offences.
HS reported that during that same 15-year period, on average 15 percent of all Finnish residents were charged with criminal offences.
The paper drilled down into the numbers and found that there were major differences among political parties in terms of candidates who found themselves suspected of being on the wrong side of the law.
No charges recorded against Greens, SPP candidates
Some 25 percent of candidates representing the populist Finns Party faced charges, while no candidates from the Swedish People’s Party or the Green Party had been charged for breaking the law.
However candidates from the nationalist Finnish People First (Suomen Kansa Ensin) party racked up the highest number of charges.
Moreover, 82 percent of election candidates who faced charges were men. It found that during the period under review, 16 candidates had been accused of more than one offence, while one candidate faced a total of eight indictments. All told, the 33 candidates suspected of breaking the law were responsible for 67 charges.
The paper pointed out that the charges do not necessarily indicate that the candidates were found guilty of the crimes of which they were suspected.
HS noted that in Finland roughly 95 percent of criminal charges lead to convictions.