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PM Katainen: Youth wing’s views not NCP’s

Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen has again distanced himself from proposals put forward by the youth wing of his own party. He was forced to comment after an old campaign video for the youth wing’s leader, featuring Katainen, spread through social media.

Pääministeri Jyrki Katainen.
Jyrki Katainen during a trip to China on 10 September. Image: Yle

On Monday the National Coalition party’s youth wing caused a stir when its programme of controversial policy proposals came to light. Young NCP members want to stop taking in refugees, end support for crisis countries in the eurozone and strike down anti-racist legislation.

Katainen has not yet decided whether he should reprimand the NCP youth leader Susanna Koski over the proposals. He is clear that they do not represent the party’s policy, and defended his decision to speak in support of Koski when she ran for parliament in 2011.

“I supported Susanna Koski in parliamentary elections two and a half years ago, along with hundreds of other NCP candidates, and I will continue to do so in the future,” said Katainen during a trade visit to China.

Ethnic hatred law to stay

He also criticised Koski’s idea that laws against incitement to ethnic hatred, which have been used to convict Finns party MP Jussi Halla-Aho, should be removed from the statute books. Halla-aho himself then called for discussion on that law and the law against violating free exercise of worship. He has been convicted of both offences.

Koski had justified her organisation’s stance by stressing a need to separate words from deeds. Katainen countered that he recognised no such distinction.

“Words are deeds,” said the premier. “Human dignity and human rights should be protected in deeds and also in words.”

Katainen had indicated yesterday via his Facebook page that he did not accept the youth organisation’s views on anti-racism legislation.

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