Sign up for our newsletter ⟩
News |

Finns Party splinter group dons colours of 1940s fascists

The group is aiming to collect enough supporter cards to officially register as a political party.

Terhi Kiemunki Pirkanmaan käräjäoikeudessa.
Terhi Kiemunki was expelled from the Finns Party in 2017. Image: Terri Niemi / Yle

A group of former members of the Finns Party are in the process of creating a new political party named in honour of a far-right party from the 1930s and 1940s.

The former populist party members registered an association under the name "Sinimusta" (Blue-Black) in December.

News agency Uutissuomalainen reports that the association has started collecting the necessary 5,000 signatures required to register as a political party.

The association, which has described themselves as nationalist-minded, includes former Finns Party members as well as people who left the party's youth wing after it disintegrated in a row over ethno-nationalist members.

It has leading figures who have been involved in Finns Party politics, including Terhi Kiemunki who was convicted of incitement to ethnic hatred in 2016.

She remained a Finns Party member after that, but was expelled in early 2017 over discrepancies in her expense claims. She remained a candidate in the local elections that year as an independent on the Finns Party list, and became a reserve councillor after getting 348 votes.

Colours associated with interwar far-right movement

The domain name associated with the new party was registered on Wednesday by a company linked to Piia Kattelus-Kilpeläinen, a Finns Party councillor and police officer in Seinäjoki.

Kattelus-Kilpeläinen is currently under investigation by her employer for a social media post in which she donned black and blue and brandished an axe.

Story continues after the photo.

Piia Kattelus Kilpeläinen kirves ködessä sinimusta paoia päällä
Piia Kattelus-Kilpeläinen is currently on leave from the Ostrobothnian Police Department. Image: Studio Street Oy / www.studiostreet.fi

Black and blue are the colours of the Lapuan Liike, a far-right movement from the interwar years that attempted a coup d'etát in 1932.

After the coup attempt, the organisation's members filtered into the IKL, a fascist party that had MPs in parliament and occasionally in government until it was banned in 1944 as part of Finland's armistice agreement with the Soviet Union.

"Not surprising"

Vesa Vares, a Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Turku, told Yle News that the emergence of this new group was "not surprising" as they needed a base away from the Finns Party, which is trying to become "more acceptable" in the eyes of other parties.

"The Finns party has previously been the political home for those who have also been in the extremes and have not had any other alternative," Vares said. "The [Finns] party has been reluctant to be very rigorous against them because they don't want to lose these votes."

However, Vares added that he believes the group will find it difficult to collect the 5,000 signatures needed to become a political party due to the associations with the past.

"The blue-blacks were the youth organisation of the IKL, and since the reputation of the IKL was so fascist in the 1930's and has remained so, the founders must know that they will now be accused of being fascists," Vares explained.

"Despite this, they have chosen to use that name. Everyone can draw at least some conclusions from that, although it remains to be seen what their party programme is going to look like," he added.

Latest in: News

Headlines

Our picks

Latest

Muualla Yle.fi:ssä