BREAKING NEWS: Soini wants MP Halla-aho suspended from True Finns parliamentary group
MP said Greece needs military junta
Timo Soini and Jussi Halla-aho
True Finns party chairman Timo Soini is calling for the suspension of MP Jussi Halla-aho from the party’s parliamentary group for one month.
The late edition tabloid Ilta-Sanomat wrote in its online edition on Wednesday that Soini plans to take up the matter with the parliamentary group on Thursday.
Soini, who chairs the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, made his comments on Wednesday as he and the rest of the committee were returning by train from St. Petersburg.
Soini’s call was prompted by comments made by Halla-aho on Wednesday concerning Greece.
“Right now Greece would need a military junta, which would not have to worry about its popularity, and which could bring the strikers and the rioters in line with tanks”, Halla-aho wrote on his Facebook page.
He later removed the comment.
“Let it be known that I am not really in favour of setting up a military junta in Greece. The intention was, in my own style, to point out that in a democracy it is hard to implement unpleasant decisions that the people oppose, even if they might be necessary. Most people probably understood the message, but as it is easy to grab onto, putting it up showed poor judgement and that is why I have removed it.”
Greece was ruled by a right-wing military junta from 1967 to 1974. At the time there were severe restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, and thousands of leftists were arrested or exiled to remote islands. People were labelled “leftists” or “anarchists” on the basis of flimsy evidence.
According to cautious estimates the junta had about 2,000 people tortured.
Halla-aho told Helsingin Sanomat that he read about the move to suspend him in Ilta-Sanomat. He said that neither Soini, nor anyone else in the party had been in touch with him.
He did not want to comment on the matter itself, nor would he say if he has had any discussions with party leaders on what is appropriate for the chairman of Parliament’s Administration Committee to say and write. However, he did say that he had considered the question.
“I have, but I am so non-political by nature that I don’t always know how to think of it in the moment. But one learns something each time”, Halla-aho had said to Helsingin Sanomat before reading about Soini’s call for his suspension.
The True Finns have also had to deal with the repercussions of public comments made by another new MP, Teuvo Hakkarainen.
In the spring the party’s parliamentary group gave Hakkarainen a warning after he had made disparaging remarks about immigrants and Muslims in a video interview with Helsingin Sanomat.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Court finds City Council member guilty of insulting religion (9.9.2009)
Halla-aho refuses to comment on controversial blog entries (21.4.2011)
Jussi Halla-aho puts other panel members on defensive in immigration debate (22.2.2011)
What does Jussi Halla-aho really want? (2.12.2008)
Timo Soini to reprimand MP Hakkarainen again for racially insensitive remarks (24.5.2011)
Timo Soini reprimands new MP (29.4.2011)