Minister of Economic Affairs Wille Rydman (PS) attended a plenary session in the Parliament House in Helsinki on Thursday, 13 June 2024. Rydman last week lashed out at the National Prosecution Authority, claiming that its decision not to bring charges against journalists who wrote about allegations about him was “not based on fact”. (Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva)

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THE LEFT ALLIANCE has announced its intention to submit a motion of no confidence against Minister of Economic Affairs Wille Rydman (PS), reports Helsingin Sanomat.

The opposition party said its lack of confidence in the cabinet member stems from his response to an article in which several girls and women accused him of improper conduct. The investigative article was published roughly two years ago by Helsingin Sanomat.

The article did not make any claims of criminal wrongdoing.

Rydman has vehemently denied the accusations, filing a criminal complaint accusing the three authors of dissemination of information violating personal privacy and aggravated defamation. Prosecutors announced last week they have decided not to bring formal charges against the journalists, concluding that the details laid out in the story did not “clearly exceed” what is considered acceptable.

They also announced no charges will be brought against Rydman. The case had been presented to prosecutors in March.

The 38-year-old lawmaker responded to the decision by claiming that the prosecutors’ interpretation is not founded on fact. “The prosecutor appears to have founded their decision on [an interpretation] that this is a question of criticism targeting my activities in politics,” he wrote on X on 7 June.

Jussi Saramo, the chairperson of the Left Alliance Parliamentary Group, on Wednesday told YLE that Rydman has conducted himself “shamefully” and sought to shift the blame to the victims and independent media.

“He has leveraged his authority as government minister to attack both the victims and independent media, in an attempt to silence criticism. That isn’t suitable conduct from a minister in our view,” he explained to the public broadcasting company.

Despite expectations, the motion of no confidence was not brought during the plenary session on Thursday.

Helsingin Sanomat on Wednesday reported that the Green League is believed to be ready to support the motion. Tytti Tuppurainen, the chairperson of the Social Democratic Parliamentary Group, told YLE that the group will discuss and make a decision on the motion in the near future, saying that inappropriate details have come to light about the conduct of Rydman.

“Prime Minister [Petteri] Orpo (NCP) has declared that Rydman wouldn’t fit into the ministerial group of the National Coalition. It’d now be good to hear where the prime minister stands,” said Tuppurainen.

Orpo on Wednesday said Rydman would not be able to serve as a minister for the National Coalition. He also, however, drew attention to the long-standing tradition that all ruling parties make their ministerial appointments independently, with no interference from their coalition partners.

“As prime minister, I look at how he’s served in his role as minister and there’s no need to reprimand in that sense,” he elaborated to Helsingin Sanomat.

Minister of Finance Riikka Purra (PS) said she has no comment to make about the position of Rydman.

Rydman faced a motion of no confidence also last year over a series of private messages that contained racist language. Members of the Parliament affirmed their confidence in him by a vote of 106 to 65.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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