The Greens’ Bella Forsgren (left), the Left Alliance’s Timo Furuholm and the Social Democrats’ Tytti Tuppurainen held a joint press conference in the Parliament House on Tuesday, 18 June 2024. The three opposition lawmakers unveiled an interpellation against Minister of Economic Affairs Wille Rydman (PS), questioning his response to allegations about his past conduct. (Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva)

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THREE OPPOSITION PARTIES, the Green League, Left Alliance and Social Democrats, brought forth an interpellation against Minister of Economic Affairs Wille Rydman (PS) on Tuesday, reports YLE.

The interpellation relates to how the minister has behaved toward the media and private individuals, seeking to establish whether such behaviour is deemed acceptable by other parties.

Rydman was accused of improper conduct by a number of girls and young women in an investigative article published by Helsingin Sanomat in June 2022. He responded to the article by accusing the journalists of aggravated defamation and dissemination of information violating personal privacy in a complaint submitted to police.

The Prosecutor General announced earlier this month it has decided not to bring charges against the journalists, the women who made the allegations or Rydman.

Rydman, who has denied the allegations throughout the process, has expressed his disapproval with the decision not to prosecute, claiming that the decision is based on a misinterpretation of the facts.

“This interpellation isn’t about the past improper conduct of minister Rydman, but about his conduct as minister,” Timo Furuholm (LA) clarified in a joint press conference in the Parliament House on Tuesday, according to YLE. “Instead of Rydman accepting responsibility for his conduct, he claimed that the story wasn’t true and filed a defamation claim.”

The Greens, Left Alliance and Social Democrats cited Rydman’s critical statements about the journalists behind the article in arguing that it is unacceptable for ministers to seek to erode public trust in media.

“In his role as minister, he has repeatedly attacked the media and the women who told about his conduct,” said Tytti Tuppurainen, the chairperson of the Social Democratic Parliamentary Group.

The three opposition parties justified the timing of the interpellation by pointing to the fact that the pre-trial investigation and consideration of charges have ended.

Also Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP) and Minister of European Affairs and Ownership Steering Anders Adlercreutz (SFP) have outlined that Rydman could not serve as a minister for their respective parties. Adlercreutz also said the Swedish People’s Party will stand by Rydman because the interpellation deals with the very future of the coalition government.

The Finns Party appointed Rydman as the minister of economic affairs in July 2023, about six months after he had joined the party following his his resignation from the National Coalition. The Finns Party has insisted that it has no need to re-evaluate his position given that it has been satisfied with his performance as minister.

Parliament is to weigh up the interpellation today.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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