Member of the European Parliament Teuvo Hakkarainen spoke at the party conference of the Finns Party in Tampere on 13 August 2023. Hakkarainen is one of two members who were expelled by the populist right-wing party last week, according to YLE. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)

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THE FINNS PARTY has expelled two of its senior members, Member of the Finnish Parliament Timo Vornanen and Member of the European Parliament Teuvo Hakkarainen, YLE revealed on Monday.

The Finnish public broadcaster wrote that a decision to expel the two lawmakers was made in a meeting of the party leadership on Thursday, 9 May.

Harri Vuorenpää, the party secretary of the Finns Party, confirmed but declined to specify the grounds for the expulsions in an interview with Helsingin Sanomat on Monday. The party rules state that a member can be expelled if, for example, his or her actions within or outside the party have caused harm to the party. Another acceptable reason for expulsion is standing in elections on the ticket of another party.

Hakkarainen told the newspaper that he was notified about the decision in a curt e-mail.

“I got an e-mail, and it said that I’ve been expelled from the party and that [the expulsion] will come into effect immediately,” he recounted on Monday.

Vornanen, a 54-year-old first-term lawmaker from Joensuu, had been kicked out of the populist right-wing party’s parliamentary group roughly a week before the expulsion, with the group citing a lack of confidence stemming from his implication in a shooting outside a nightclub in Helsinki in April.

Hakkarainen and the Finns Party, meanwhile, have had a public falling out over the upcoming elections to the European Parliament. With the Finns Party refusing to nominate Hakkarainen despite his professed desire to retain a seat in Brussels, the 64-year-old lawmaker is running on the ticket of the Freedom Alliance, a newly registered party from the nationalist-conservative flank of the political spectrum in Finland.

The Finns Party justified its refusal to nominate him by pointing to actions that violated party interests.

Hakkarainen on Monday stated to Helsingin Sanomat that the grounds remain a mystery to him. The Finns Party, he added, has undergone a complete transformation since he was first elected to the Finnish Parliament in 2011, becoming a lapdog of the National Coalition.

“The party has become the National Coalition’s beagle. Its priority now is to promote the interests of the party leadership and it’s doing so with this kind of right-wing populism. They no longer care about the rank and file, and the voice of the deep public has been suffocated. They want to suffocate people like me.”

“I’ll move on. It’s sad that this has happened to this party. You used to be able to freely express your views and criticise the party leadership. Now you can’t.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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