Anti-immigrant and homophobic rhetoric: Finnish elections spurred harmful speech

Expression

On 14th April 2019, Finnish parliamentary elections were held. The Finnish Social Democratic Party won 40 seats of the total 200, and therefore emerged as the most supported party. With just one seat less, the Finns Party, known for its far right stance, came second. The Finns Party were only in fifth place according to polls from six months ago but were able to catch up during the election campaign. 

The prevalent topics dominating the elections, included the unsuccessful tackling of a social and healthcare reform, actions to counter climate change, as well as, immigration policies.

Police authorities in Finland have launched an investigation to assess whether some elections slogans involved hate speech. In particular, the small far right party “Finnish People First” is under scrutiny as their slogans included “immigrant invaders out” using the derogatory slang term 'matut' as well as “homos get back in the closet”. Another investigation is currently being conducted by Finnish police targeting Teuvo Hakkarainen of the Finns Party, who displayed a similar slogan about “immigrant invaders” on his car.