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Perussuomalaiset MP escapes trial as move to lift immunity fails

Published : 27 Jun 2020, 03:06

Updated : 27 Jun 2020, 03:08

  DF Report

Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party) lawmaker Juha Mäenpää. Photo Kimmo Brandt / Compic / Eduskunta.

The opposition Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party) lawmaker, Juha Mäenpää will not face prosecution for inciting hatred remarks against an ethnic group as a motion brought in the parliament on Friday to lift his immunity failed.

A total of 121 lawmakers cast votes in support of the motion but 54 cast votes against it while 24 refrained from voting resulting failure to win five-sixth majority required for lifting immunity.

In addition to the Perussuomalaiset and SuomenKristillisdemokraati (Christian Democratic Party) lawmakers, six MPs from Suomen Keskusta (the Centre Party of Finland), the second largest component of the five-party alliance government and four MPs from Kansallinen Kokoomus (National Coalition Party) voted against lifting immunity.

The lawmakers of the Sosialidemokraattinen Puolue (the Social Democratic Party of Finland-SDP), Vihreäliitto (Green League), Vasemmistoliitto (Left Alliance) and Suomenruotsalainenkansanpuolue (the Swedish People’s Party of Finland-RKP), the rest four components of the alliance government voted for the motion .

The failure to lift immunity disappointed State prosecutor Raija Toiviainen, reported national broadcaster Yle.

"From following the public debate I was able to guess that it would go like this," Toiviainen told Yle, adding, "But I am disappointed with the result. It gives the impression that a minority voted to express their acceptance of racist hate speech."

Mäenpää in a remark in parliament last summer likened asylum seekers to an invasive species.

He, however, claimed that he was not guilty as the statement was part of a spontaneous debate, not criminal speech.

The police after preliminary investigation into the matter found grounds for framing charge against the lawmaker but approval from the parliament is mandatory in this regard.

The Persecutor needs approval of five-sixths members ( 167 out of 200) in parliament to go ahead with the move.

Perussuomalaiset chair Jussi Halla-aho was convicted of inciting hatred against an ethnic group in 2012.