Former Minister for Foreign Affairs and 10-term National Coalition Party MP Ilkka Kanerva has taken the first actions in response to his conviction last week for accepting bribes as part of the complex case against the Nova Group of companies, and on Monday morning he announced he would be stepping down from his position as chairman of the board of the Regional Council of Southwest Finland, and would also be resigning from the Council itself.
Kanerva stressed that it was entirely his own decision, although there has been comment that the Regional Council was today to decide on measures to be taken against the chairman, either in the former of a suspension or his ousting from the job.
He noted that it was a fairer solution to withdraw completely than to remain as a member of the Council, where he has been a representative since 1995.
Although Kanerva was found guilty of accepting bribes in his capacity as chairman of the Regional Council, allegedly in return for influence on zoning decisions, the judgement is to go to appeal, and is not legally binding as yet. Hence the court's urging that Kanerva be relieved of his duties in this sphere does not as yet have the force of law.
Kanerva received a 15-month suspended sentence.
The Regional Council of Southwest Finland has reported that it will elect a new chair on June 11th. The post belongs to the National Coalition Party.
Kanerva's position as a member of the Turku City Council could also be in some jeopardy, but there is as yet no pressure on him to relinquish his tasks as a Member of Parliament.