Kanerva insists in magazine interview that he will not resign
Foreign Minister alleged to have offered job opportunities to several women
Finland's Minister for Foreign Affairs Ilkka Kanerva (Nat. Coalition Party) says that he does not plan to resign in the wake of the uproar surrounding his sending of text messages to the member of an erotic dance group.
In an interview with the gossip magazine 7 päivää ("7 Days"), Kanerva says that he had been naive and gullible, but that he sees no need to change.
According to Kanerva dancer Johanna Tukiainen wanted to perform with her dance group at his birthday party, and he responded to this request by text message.
He added that it was just his sense of humour that made him ask Tukiainen what she was wearing.
Meanwhile, it has been alleged that Kanerva has suggested to several women over the years that he could offer them opportunities for jobs. The most recent such allegations came from Tampere artist Maija Tuurna on a television current affairs programme on Tuesday evening.
Tuurna says that Kanerva had been in touch with her ten years ago, when he was a Member of Parliament.
"Kanerva said to me that he can use his contacts so that I would be able to sell large works to Parliament, and to a service centre to be set up somewhere on Spain's Costa del Sol", Tuurna told Helsingin Sanomat by telephone from Spain, where she spends part of the year.
"Kanerva was in touch with me by telephone and text message. Once he came to meet me unexpectedly in Tampere and tried to kiss me against my will. I tolerated the stupid harassment, hoping that I might get some paintings sold", she said.
However, no works of her art were sold as a result.
Ilkka Kanerva told Helsingin Sanomat through his aide that he has no recollection of ever meeting the artist in question.
The Administrative Director of the Finnish Parliament Kari T. Ahonen does not remember that Kanerva would have proposed the acquisition of any works by Maija Tuurna.
Dancer Johanna Tukiainen, who sparked the most recent uproar over Kanerva's text messages to her, said that there had been talk with Kanerva about his possibilities of arranging work for her dance group.
It has also been reported that in 2005 Kanerva got the contact information for Linda Sonntag and Anne-Mari Berg by asking if they would be interested in working at the World Championships in Athletics, held in Helsinki that year.
Chancellor of Justice Jaakko Jonkka does not see any legal problems with dropping such hints.
"I have not seen anything that would have had dimensions that would affect the scrutiny of the type that I practice", he said.
Tuomas Ojanen, Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Helsinki, says that hinting at various job opportunities shows a lack of consideration. "It creates the impression that something is being arranged in the background past normal procedure."
However, Ojanen also sees no legal problems.
The Feminist Association Unioni decided on Wednesday to give Foreign Minister Kanerva a pair of underpants.
Unioni commented on the recent text message controversy by sending Kanerva a pair of ladies' underwear with the text "telaketjufeministi" ("caterpillar tractor feminist") printed on it.
The organisation felt that it has "an obligation to educate" Kanerva on the matter, and hopes that he will meet the kinds of women described in the text during his work-related travels.
Previously in HS International Edition:
National Coalition Party and government back Kanerva (12.3.2008)
Foreign Minister admits to sending text messages to dancer (11.3.2008)
National Coalition Party leader perplexed by Kanerva SMS message uproar (10.3.2008)