Minister of Education Anna-Maja Henriksson (SFP) spoke to reporters after a plenary session in parliament in Helsinki on 28 June 2023. Henriksson on Wednesday told YLE that the Swedish People’s Party wants to see genuine action against racism and atonement from the Finns Party. (Eeva-Maria Brotherus – Lehtikuva)


MINISTER of Education Anna-Maja Henriksson (SFP) says the Swedish People’s Parliamentary Group will have a serious discussion about whether it can grant its confidence to the ministers at the centre of the racism discussion, Minister of Finance Riikka Purra (PS) and Minister of Economic Affairs Wille Rydman (PS).

Henriksson on Wednesday told YLE that the racist online comments and private messages by the duo have caused aversion within the Swedish People’s Party.

“We want to see genuine actions against racism and remorse from them so that they can win back our trust,” she stated in an interview with the public broadcasting company, estimating that the ruling coalition is in the most difficult situation she has seen during her 16 years in politics.

Henriksson declined to comment on whether the parliamentary group will stand united in the vote of confidence expected to take place at the start of the autumn term, early next month. The vote of confidence is to be held as the government presents a statement on promoting equality and non-discrimination to parliament.

The language of the government statement will be crucial, according to Henriksson.

“We want Finns Party members to demonstrate in practice that they distance themselves from actions that can be experienced as racist,” she underscored to YLE.

Purra reproached the Swedish People’s Party in an interview with YLE on Tuesday, saying she is worried about the fact that some members of the party have announced their intent to bring down the government. The Swedish People’s Party, she implored, must patch up its internal divisions by itself.

Eva Biaudet (SFP) told Helsingin Sanomat at the beginning of the month that she is trying to bring down the ruling coalition and that she will not hesitate to vote against government proposals whenever she feels necessary. Biaudet in June was the only ruling-party member to not support the government against a motion of no confidence.

She also did not back the nomination of Jussi Halla-aho, a former chairperson of the Finns Party, as speaker of the parliament.

“Inciting hatred and disparaging people is extremely dangerous. They’ll result in breaking down our democracy and shattering our future,” Biaudet stated in an interview with the monthly supplement of the newspaper.

“I’ve had a serious discussion with Biaudet,” Henriksson said to YLE on Wednesday. “Also the parliamentary group will discuss this issue.”

She stressed that individual members do not define the party’s position.

“The Swedish People’s Party joining the government was backed by 9 out of 10 representatives. I think it’s strange to demand something that doesn’t reflect the views of the party leadership and parliamentary group,” she remarked.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT