National Coalition Party MP calls on Kanerva to resign
Artist revises report press reports on earlier events
National Coalition Party Member of Parliament Tuija Nurmi feels that Minister for Foreign Affairs Ilkka Kanerva (Nat. Coalition Party) should resign from his post because of the uproar that has been generated by news of the text messages sent by him to a young woman.
In an interview with the late edition tabloid Iltalehti on Monday, Nurmi said that Kanerva has lost his political credibility. "His behaviour simply does not correspond to that of the prestige of a minister", Nurmi said.
Nurmi said that she had been contacted on the matter by citizens, and it is on that basis that she decided to call for his resignation. In the interview, Nurmi said that Kanerva is competent, and of high merit. However, a minister needs to know where the limits are.
Nurmi confirmed her call for Kanerva's resignation to Helsingin Sanomat in the afternoon. However, she would not comment any further, after discussing the matter with the secretary-general of the Parliamentary office of the National Coalition Party.
Meanwhile, artist Maija Tuurna denies previous reports that Kanerva had made physical moves on her or tried to kiss her against her will.
Tuurna had made statements to this effect last week. On Monday she told Helsingin Sanomat that her words have been artificially blown out of proportion.
"The story has not changed in any way. I have been saying the same thing all the time. I have said that he did not attack me. The headlines have been amazingly exaggerated. The story itself has constantly been the same", Tuurna says now.
Tuurna now says that when Kanerva visited an art exhibition of hers ten years ago on the day before its official opening, he did not make an actual offer to buy any of her works. However, he let it be known that he was interested in art acquisition.
"The offer to buy art, however one might call it: it is common to promise an artist to buy art. It then either happens, or it does not. He did not say that he would buy the art. No prices were agreed upon. I have spoken honestly about this, but it has been turned into this American style scandal."
Maija Tuurna says that she would like to get the whole matter over with.
"Kanerva has apologised, and I'm saying that it's OK. There is no point in seeing anything new in these events from ten years ago."
In Monday's Ilta-Sanomat, Tuurna also says that Kanerva had not said that he could be able to bring her work into Parliament. As for the kiss, Tuurna says that it was "just a normal gentlemanly kiss on the cheek when saying goodbye".
Kanerva said last Thursday in Brussels that he does not remember the artist in question. However, he made an apology in case he offended her.
On Monday, Foreign Minister Kanerva said in the late-edition tabloid Iltalehti that he had received death threats. Dancer Johanna Tukiainen said in the previous day's issue of the same paper that she had received threats as well.
Kanerva did not give details on the content of the threats. He said that he hopes that the threats will come to an end when the situation calms down.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Party leader expresses irritation over Foreign Minister´s antics (17.3.2008)
Kanerva apologises over SMS uproar (14.3.2008)
Kanerva insists in magazine interview that he will not resign (13.3.2008)
Foreign Minister admits to sending text messages to dancer (11.3.2008)