TONI JALONEN has asked to be relieved of his duties as the second deputy chairperson of the Finns Party Youth, reports Helsingin Sanomat.
Jalonen has garnered a lot of negative publicity over the past couple of days after declaring himself an “ethnonationalist, traditionalist and fascist” – provoking applause from the audience – in a seminar organised in Estonia on Sunday.
“I made my decision based on thorough consideration that was influenced by a number of things, most recently the outrage and strong reaction of the party to the speech I gave in Estonia,” he was quoted as saying on Tuesday by Helsingin Sanomat.
Jalonen confirmed to STT yesterday that he identifies himself as a fascist and said he has no intention to back down on his statement.
He was also asked by the news agency to explain what he means by fascism: “I think of fascism before the World War, of the kind of strong nationalist identity they had in Italy, of the people working together for the common good. I think it’s a very good ideology to support, even though it has been linked to negative connotations.”
Simo Grönroos, the party secretary of the Finns Party, told Uusi Suomi on Tuesday that Jalonen will likely be stripped of his membership in the populist opposition party.
“This does spell the end of his membership in the party,” he stated. “This sort of activity goes against the party and will lead to an expulsion.”
The Finns Party Youth last week published a photo of Jalonen and Martin Helme, the Estonian Minister of Finance. Helme is a member of the ruling right-wing populist party in Estonia, the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia.
The incident is also being looked into by the Ministry of Education and Culture, which is responsible for granting state aid to political youth organisations.
“We’ll look into the situation this afternoon, into what we should do about the issue,” Esko Ranto, the director general of the Ministry of Education and Culture, stated to Uusi Suomi on Tuesday. “So far we’ve made no decisions.”
Ranto stopped short of confirming that the ministry is re-evaluating the youth organisation’s eligibility for state aid.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi