Finnish economy minister resigns after pressure over his Nazi references

Mon, 3 Jul 2023 3:48 GMT
Vilhelm Junnila under fire for attending far-right event in 2019, joking about his election number referencing 'Heil Hitler'.
Finnish economy minister resigns after pressure over his Nazi references

The economy minister of Finland's newly formed alliance government resigned on Friday after intense criticism surrounding his associations with far-right groups, local media reported.

"I think it is impossible for me to continue as a minister in a satisfactory way," said Vilhelm Junnila, in a statement.

He further said he made the decision for the government's continuity and the reputation of the country, according to Daily Finland.

Junnila is the leader of the far-right Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party), which represents the second largest faction within the four-party alliance government.

His resignation comes merely 10 days after the establishment of the right-wing government in the Nordic country.

Junnila has faced significant public backlash for his attendance at a far-right event in 2019, which has connections to neo-Nazis.

Furthermore, he made an inappropriate joke referencing "Heil Hitler" in relation to his election number, and campaigned during an election using the slogan "gas," adding to the controversy surrounding him.

Prime Minister Petteri Orpo welcomed the decision of the resignation.

"I am satisfied with this solution. It was the right solution and it was the only possible solution," Orpo said at a press conference during EU summit in Brussels, according to the report.

Meanwhile, Junnila managed to survive a no-confidence vote in parliament on Wednesday with a narrow margin of 95 votes in favor of him to 86 against.


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