Leaked e-mail exposes schism within Finns Party over blog article by MP’s aide
An e-mail sent by Matti Putkonen, an employee of the party headquarters of the opposition Finns Party, to Pirkko Ruohonen-Lerner, the leader of the party’s parliamentary group, was leaked to the media on Monday, indicating sharp disagreements over a controversial blog entry by the personal aide of a Finns Party MP.
In an interview with Helsingin Sanomat, Putkonen sharply condemned the leak as seriously harmful to the party.
In the message Putkonen urged Ruohonen-Lerner to show restraint in the controversy over an article written on the Uusi Suomi website by Helena Eronen, the parliamentary aide of Finns Party MP James Hirvisaari.
In the piece, which the writer later said was not intended as a serious proposal, Eronen suggested that foreigners in Finland should be compelled to wear special arm bands to make it easier for police to identify them as foreigners.
A majority of Finns Party MPs called on Hirvisaari to sack his aide, and Ruohonen-Lerner said that she was examining the possibility of having parliamentary officials remove Eronen from the Parliament’s payroll if Hirvisaari refuses to do so himself.
Putkonen warned that the issue was deflecting attention from important matters, such as an upcoming interpellation on the euro crisis.
On Monday, the leaked e-mail itself became a controversial issue, reflecting what has been seen as increasing discord within the Finns Party.
The issue of whether or not Eronen should be sacked is on the table of Pertti Rauhio, Administrative Director at the Finnish Parliament. Rauhio plans to examine Finnish labour legislation to see if Parliament can terminate the personal aide of an MP without the consent of the MP in question.
MPs’ aides have a somewhat untypical employment arrangement: formally their employer is the Finnish Parliament, while their supervisor is the individual MP whom they assist.
Eronen’s blog entry was reported by the Turku newspaper Turun Sanomat. Eronen has said that she will file a complaint about the article to the Council for Mass Media in Finland.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Finns Party MP’s aide under fire for blog entry suggesting arm bands for foreigners (16.4.2012)
MP Hakkarainen’s latest gaffe: send minorities to Åland (24.10.2011)
UPDATE: Jussi Halla-aho suspended from True Finns parliamentary group for two weeks (15.9.2011)