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Foreign Minister Kanerva Sacked Over SMS Scandal

The National Coalition's chairman, Jyrki Katainen, said fellow party member Ilkka Kanerva cannot continue as Foreign Minister. On Monday evening Kanerva had said he would not step down as Foreign Minister. However, on Tuesday he cancelled all of his engagements for the next few days and took several days sick leave. Despite previously showing support for the embattled Kanerva, Katainen told his party online newsletter that the SMS scandal surrounding Kanerva has damaged his credibility too much. On Tuesday morning, the tabloid Hymy published 24 of the supposedly hundreds of text messages Kanerva sent to an erotic dancer. Some of the messages, laden with double entendres and innuendos, suggest a meeting between the two. According to the magazine, the published text messages are a representative sample of all the messages sent by Kanerva. It does not intend to publish the rest of the messages. "In my opinion Kanerva no longer has the kind of trust and general respect that is necessary for him to continue as minister. In the light of recent circumstance, his capability to act as foreign minister has been significantly weakened," Katainen was quoted in the newsletter. Katainen went into greater depth about his decision to replace Kanerva at a press conference on Tuesday. The deputy chair of the party's parliamentary group Ben Zyskowicz added that Kanerva's resignation is not due to the text messages themselves, but the media frenzy surrounding the situation and publication of the messages. He also praised Kanerva for his work as foreign minister. Katainen: Kanerva "Broke his Promise" to Behave MEP Stubb is Finland's New Foreign Minister Minister Resignations over the Years

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