The Finns Party, the largest opposition party in Parliament, has launched a new youth group after cutting ties with the old youth organisation when it refused to play by the rules.
Months of tension between the parent party and the old youth wing came to a head at the end of February when the Finns Party Youth Group voted 56-45 at a meeting in Tampere against a resolution – sought by the main party – to make all members of the Youth Group become members of the main Finns Party.
That way, the main party could have more control of the activities and membership of the Youth Group which has become increasingly focused on far-right ideologies and ethno-nationalism – deciding who should become a Finn based on the colour of their skin. Earlier in February a senior leader of the old Finns Party Youth Group was seen on a video clip telling a right-wing conference in Estonia that he considered himself to be a fascist.
Now, the Finns Party hopes to start fresh with a youth organisation it can control.
On Thursday, party leader Jussi Halla-aho told reporters that attempts were made to resolve differences with the old youth group but it couldn’t be worked out. He has installed MP Jenni Simula as the temporary chair of the youth group, with the old youth group leader Asseri Kinnunen as vice chairman.
The rules of the new organisation are similar to the old one, except that any members have to commit to being in favour of “democracy, freedom of expressions and the rule of law” and be “respectful in all circumstances.”
By ridding themselves of the previous youth group, the Finns Party will be hoping to show it is not a party of racists or ethno-nationalists in future, when it might want to build a potential government coalition with the National Coalition Party.
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