Riikka Purra, Jani Mäkelä and Harri Vuorenpää of the Finns Party announced Timo Vornanen’s expulsion from the Finns Party Parliamentary Group in the Parliament House in Helsinki on Thursday, 2 May 2024. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

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TIMO VORNANEN, a first-term Member of Parliament from Joensuu, has announced his intention to set up his own parliamentary group following his expulsion from the Finns Party Parliamentary Group on Thursday, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

Leaders of the Finns Party said the 54-year-old lawmaker had lost the confidence of the group over his suspected involvement in a shooting outside a nightclub in Helsinki on 26 April.

Vornanen is believed to have fired a small-calibre handgun at the ground after brandishing and pointing it at two people outside Bar Ihku.

“If a Finns Party representative is carrying a firearm while intoxicated in a nightclub in Helsinki, there’s plenty to there to damage confidence,” commented Riikka Purra, the chairperson of the Finns Party.

Veli-Pekka Viljanen, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Turku, stated to STT last week that the expulsion will severely limit the possibilities of Vornanen to serve as a Member of Parliament. The resources of one-member parliamentary groups are limited particularly if the group was established in the middle of an electoral term, he reminded.

Vornanen on Thursday argued in a press release that, with the pre-trial investigation into the incident still ongoing, there are no legal grounds for his expulsion or resignation from the Finnish Parliament. He added, though, that he would submit his letter of resignation if a court ruling established such grounds.

The 54-year-old lawmaker, who is on leave from his civilian occupation as senior constable at Eastern Finland Police Department, also apologised to voters for the regret and uncertainty caused by the situation.

“Due to the reputational harm, I want to express my sincerest apology to the Finns Party, MPs and the entire Parliament,” he said.

Vornanen also apologised to the media for his scarce communication, saying his hands are tied until the pre-trial investigation has been wrapped up.

“I can’t shed more light on it at this point because the pre-trial investigation is still ongoing. The justification for my communication strategy is a force majeure reason that I can’t affect,” he explained.

He concluded the press release by commending the media for engaging on “societally valuable” work on a daily basis, a statement that marks a departure from the tone he had taken earlier.

On 30 April, Vornanen expressed his frustration with the expert analyses published by media, saying the media should tone down expert analyses and let authorities perform their duties. “Things will clear up in time,” he stated.

He also made a pointed response to Minister of the Interior Mari Rantanen (PS), who had commented on the shooting incident in her speech on May Day.

“The list of stone throwers and ‘judges’ is getting pretty long even though the pre-trial investigation into my case hasn’t yet been completed,” he lamented. “Wouldn’t it be reasonable that we conduct a proper pre-trial investigation and that [the findings] are evaluated by a court before a public lynching like this? I think it would.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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