PRESIDENT Sauli Niinistö has revealed he has discussed the upcoming parliamentary elections with party leaders since last autumn.
“We had a discussion with party leaders as early as last autumn about how to avoid not only external attempts to influence but a boiling over of the election atmosphere, too,” he wrote in his blog on Wednesday.
“I’ve continued the same dialogue with party leaders in light of the recent events. We all share an understanding that we must ensure the elections are peaceful. Threats and violence, be it by words or actions, do not belong on the campaign trail,” continued Niinistö.
Suldaan Said Ahmed, a candidate on the ticket of the Left Alliance in Helsinki, has stated that he was assaulted during a campaign event in Itäkeskus, Helsinki, on Monday. Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini (BR), meanwhile, was the target of what is investigated as attempted assault at a campaign event of the Blue Reform in Korso, Vantaa, on Sunday.
The Police of Finland on Wednesday reported that it has already received reports of several attempts to disturb candidates campaigning for a seat in either the Finnish and European Parliament.
“Violence and threats are offences as such. Violence and threats in conjunction with elections are particularly serious acts from a societal viewpoint that seek to undermine, question and take away the democracy and the opportunity to influence used by most voters,” stated Sanna Heikinheimo, a Deputy National Police Commissioner at the National Police Board.
Disturbing, threatening or using violence to influence a candidate in elections carries a maximum punishment of two years in prison under the criminal code of Finland.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi