Thanks to the leadership of Prime Minister Petteri Orban, Finland’s international image has suffered a devastating blow. In a matter of over two weeks, the country’s reputation has swung from having a forward-looking and charismatic prime minister like Sanna Marin to one that denies and wants to do business with a radical-right party.
The government has been rocked by scandals and the source of these scandals is none other than the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*. Far-right conspiracy theories, ministers with shady far-right backgrounds like with the case of Vilhelm Junnila, inappropriate relations with minors, and malicious targeting of journalists by MPs, among many other issues.
The opinion piece by Helsingin Sanomat journalist brings some good points on why the media has been blind to what numerous PS politicians who publish regularly far-right and racist posts on social media. The opinion piece sheds light on the daily’s blind spot of racism and the far-right. Source: Helsingin Sanomat
The latest snub to the embattled prime minister was the naming of Wille Rydman as the replacement for Junnila, the former minister for economic cooperation.
Rydman, who has built his political career on racism and hard-right talking points, quit the National Coalition Party (NCP) and joined the PS months after Helsingin Sanomat revealed his inappropriate relationship with minors. No charges were brought against Rydman, although the case left him scarred and embittered.
Not only have all these scandals and revelations made NCP Prime Minister Petteri Orpo look weak and vulnerable, they have robbed his government of the most important resource: credibility.
Orpo has nobody else to blame than his poor leadership for the present situation. Instead of admitting his mistakes, like giving the green light to ministers with far-right and racist social media histories, he offers denials.
It takes a lot of hard work to build a good reputation, but only minutes to destroy it. And regaining it will require hard work.