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Finnish MP expelled from party after shooting outside bar

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Finland’s right-wing nationalist Finns Party has risen in recent years, gaining 20% ​​of the vote last year and entering the governing coalition, becoming the country’s second-largest political force.

But since the party came to power, one government minister has had to apologize for racist comments, another has been forced to resign over references to Nazis and, most recently, an MP was expelled from the party for firing a gun outside a pub.

Finance Minister and party president Riikka Purra said last week that the party had moved quickly to resolve the recent incident involving MP Timo Vornanen. However, Ms Prala told state broadcaster Yle, “Perhaps most importantly we remain the kind of party that people join from outside politics.”

“For better or worse, our members may be struggling with issues like this,” she said.

Police said that at around 4 a.m. on April 26, a 54-year-old man, identified by Finns Party officials as Mr. Vornanen, a member of the party, pointed a gun at two people and fired a shot at the ground. after a bar fight in central Helsinki.

As is customary in Finland, police did not name Mr Vonaren during the investigation, but the 54-year-old admitted his involvement in the incident and admitted he was carrying a gun. Wonarinen said he would remain a member of parliament and form an independent parliamentary group.

Jukka Larkio, head of the Helsinki Police Investigation Team Tell Iler There had been “a lot of drinking” late into the early hours of Thursday night when a fight broke out near the bar. Finland’s parliament building, “really had an impact”.

Mr. Volnanen, from the Finnish city of Joensuu, is a former police officer and a member of the parliamentary intelligence oversight committee.

Finland, a country of hunters and gun enthusiasts, has one of the highest gun ownership rates in Europe, but it has strict rules on how to use and store guns.

in a Facebook postMr Wonarinen said he was issued a license to carry a handgun because of his previous work as a police officer and for protective purposes, and that his license allowed him to carry a firearm in public.

Vonarinen’s dismissal was announced in Finnish news media on Monday, with party secretary Harri Vuorenpaa confirming the news in an email to The Times.

The party declined to provide reasons for the expulsion, but several party insiders condemned the incident following the incident.

Interior Minister Mari Rantanen called Mr Vornanen’s behavior “brainless” and Finance Minister Ms Purra said Mr Vornanen had lost confidence. “If I had confidence in someone who was drunk in a public place with a gun and fired, that would be extraordinary,” she said. told Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.

Mr. Wonarinen did not respond to a request for comment, but he previously said in a separate article Facebook post It was only fair that a neutral investigation be completed “prior to such a public lynching.”

Johanna Worelma, a political science researcher at the University of Helsinki, said the Finns Party is a protest party that has historically positioned itself as opposed to mainstream politics and whose members come from the fringes of the political scene.

So, Ms Worelma said, while party representatives were “forced to clean up their image” while in government, “there are still these scandals where party representatives behave in ways you wouldn’t expect in government” party. “

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