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Finns Party politician who penned racist posts re-elected to chair local chapter

Tampere Finns Party members voted unanimously to return politician Terhi Kiemunki as head of the group’s local chapter. Kiemunki, who is also a parliamentary aide to Finns Party MP Lea Mäkipää, made headlines earlier this year for Facebook posts in which she derided Muslim children participating in a Finnish Easter tradition.

Terhi Kiemunki
Terhi Kiemunki Image: Perussuomalaiset

An annual meeting of the Tampere Finns Party chapter voted unanimously to retain party activist Terhi Kiemunki as group chair. Kiemunki’s re-election coincided with the launch of the local chapter’s campaign for local government elections due in April next year.

Kiemunki  made national headlines in March this year after she wrote public Facebook posts mocking Muslim children dressed as witches as part of a Finnish Easter tradition. At the time she joked that "it was a pity I don’t have any condoms," which some readers took to mean that she would have given them to the children’s parents.

"They didn’t come to us, it would have been funny to hear what kind of rhyme they recited or whether they would have just settled for 'Allahu akbar' (sic)," she also wrote.

Following heavy criticism, Kiemunki later apologised and denied that her comments were racist. She even requested that police investigate her comments to determine whether or not they were racist or violated any laws.

Support for MV-Lehti and founder Ilja Janitskin

Kiemunki has also used Facebook as a platform to offer support for the anti-immigrant website, MV-Lehti. In a post in July, she used took to the social networking site to "raise a toast" to MV-Lehti founder "Ilja Janitskin and freedom of speech" when the online paper resurfaced after an interval of a few hours while it changed servers. Its previous hosting provider had discontinued its agreement with the controversial website.

In October, however, prosecutors leveled charges of agitation against an ethnic group for a blog that she contributed to the online Uusi Suomi paper. Pundits have described the upcoming trial as a test of the limits of free speech in Finland.

Kiemunki will continue to serve as the Pirkanmaa regional first vice president until next spring. She was banned from holding high-ranking positions in that group following the furore her Easter posts generated.

She currently also sits on the Tampere city council and continues to serve as parliamentary aide to Finns Party MP Lea Mäkipää.

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