Finland’s presidential candidates talk discrimination as never beforeFriday, 13 January 2012
As the Finnish presidential candidates debated in front of a youthful audience on Thursday night, high on the agenda were issues surrounding racism, internationalism and discrimination.
In what has been described by Finnish media sources as one of Finland's biggest after-school detention, Järvenpää High School was the setting of the event. Finnish young people are increasing confused today about increased negative rhetoric about race, immigration and the like since the emergence of the right wing True Finns.
Besides that, the Finnish society is increasingly polarised along nationalistic lines and race. The question remains as to how the Finnish youths would succeed in a world that is increasingly becoming integrated and the fact that Finland must deal with other races and nations in order for them to survive.
One student leader asked the TrueFinns party chair, Timo Soini why he hadn't taken a clearer stand against racism.
Besides, the appointment of Jussi Halla-aho to chair the parliamentary committee dealing with immigration drew particular criticism from the other candidates.
SDP candidate Paavo Lipponen characterised Halla-aho as 'far right', and said that he would continue to oppose discrimination despite the rise of the True Finns party.
Eva Biaudet of the Swedish People's party said Soini is responsible for appointing Halla-aho. Paavo Arhinmäki from the Left Alliance also criticised the move.
The Green party candidate, Pekka Haavisto, emphasised collective responsibility to fight racism, and said hate speech had become all too common in Finland. Sauli Niinistö demanded better behaviour from both the media and politicians.
Soini defended his MPs. He said that they had been democratically elected and criticised so-called 'smear tactics'.
The election takes place a week on Sunday, and advance voting has already started.
By Scancomark.se Team
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