Far-right Finnish leader Riikka Purra sorry in racist posts uproar
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A string of racist comments made by Finland’s far-right finance minister 15 years ago have just been revealed. Riikka Purra apologised for them.

She apologized for the harm and resentment caused by the posts that she called “stupid”.

In the new government of conservative Prime Minister Petteri Orpo, Ms Purra’s Finns Party secured high-profile cabinet posts.

It has been accused of numerous things in only three weeks.

On Thursday, Helsinki’s prime minister will host US President Joe Biden, which is not a good look for a newly minted government.

The Finnish president suggested that the new government “take a clear stance of zero tolerance of racism” during the Nato summit in Lithuania.

As Mr Orpo made clear on social media, the government had “zero tolerance for racism” and each minister was committed to fighting it.

Ms Purra said on Twitter that she isn’t perfect, she has made mistakes. Furthermore, she co-signed a government statement assuring Finns that the entire cabinet is committed to equality and non-discrimination.

Riikka Purra (left) has joined the prime minister

In April elections, her anti-immigration, Eurosceptic Finns Party barely finished second behind Mr Orpo’s National Coalition Party. In addition to being finance minister, she is also deputy prime minister of Finland.

Finland’s media uncovered a series of racist comments made on a colleague’s blog in 2008 under the username “riikka”.

“If they gave me a gun, there would be bodies on a commuter train, you see,” said one written on 25 September 2008.

As she attended a conference in Spain, she referred to hawkers selling fake Louis Vuitton bags as “Turkish monkeys” and racial slurs about black street hawkers.

However, she did point out that the comments had been written years before she became a politician. In spite of accepting that she had written and said “stupid or absurd” things, she was adamant that “in this position, at this stage of life and age, I would not write anything like that”.

As of Tuesday afternoon, she had admitted the comments were hers, but clarified that they were 15 years old.

Her predecessor Jussi Halla-aho stepped down as leader of the Finns Party, which now has 20.1% of the vote.

It is now he who is speaking in parliament. In 2012, he resigned from a parliamentary committee after blogging racist remarks about Islam and Somalis in 2008.

There is no doubt that Riikka Purra’s racist past is the biggest threat to Finland’s young government so far, but it is not the only one.

She was forced to resign as economy minister in June after her party colleague Vilhelm Junnila made references to Adolf Hitler at a far-right event and made references to abortions in Africa.

In response to media reports claiming she believed Finns are being replaced by other races, Interior Minister Mari Rantanen – who is in the same party as Ms Purra – made clear she did not subscribe to conspiracy theories.

There are four parties in the coalition led by Orpo. Government debt will be lowered and immigration rules will be tightened for citizenship and residence permits, they have promised Finns.