Teuvo Hakkarainen, a Member of the European Parliament for the Finns Party, delivered a speech at the populist right-wing party’s party conference in Tampere on 13 August 2023. Hakkarainen on Monday announced he is seeking a second term in Brussels, saying he does not accept the party’s refusal to nominate him. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)

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TEUVO HAKKARAINEN (PS) on Monday announced he intends to seek another term in the European Parliament.

Hakkarainen, who won a seat in the European Parliament in 2019 after three terms in the Finnish Parliament, revealed that he has been asked to run in the elections by a number of his party comrades.

The populist right-wing party, however, has no intention of nominating him, party secretary Harri Vuorenpää stated to Keskisuomalainen earlier on Monday. Hakkarainen, he added, has been aware of the plan not to nominate him as a candidate.

“The justifications are an internal party matter that we won’t be sharing in public,” he said to the regional newspaper.

Vuorenpää told YLE later on Monday that he will not comment further on the issue. “I have nothing else to comment on the matter. Other than Teuvo Hakkarainen won’t be a Finns Party candidate in the European elections,” he retorted.

He attributed the apparent disconnect between the party and the aspiring candidate to a misunderstanding.

“Hakkarainen is responsible for drafting his own press releases and doing his own communication. Our message is that he won’t be a candidate, and he’s been aware of that,” he added to the public broadcasting company.

The Finns Party, he stressed, nominates its candidates based on its own rules, with the nominations then confirmed by the party council. Ari Koponen and Sebastian Tynkkynen have already been confirmed as candidates for the upcoming elections, in which populist and far-right parties are widely expected to make gains.

Hakkarainen said he refuses to accept the decision, however. The Finns Party, he claimed, has had the tradition of always nominating its current Members of Parliament, be they in Finland or Brussels.

“Then they come out with this kind of an announcement. I’m very baffled by it,” he said to YLE. “I’m baffled at how the decision was made and what are the underlying reasons. They have to have strong justification for the decision. My line hasn’t changed, but has the party’s line changed?”

He added that he believes he has performed his duties well in the European Parliament, especially in the domain of forest policy.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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