FFT has been somewhat silent of the recent politicial events in Finland. Of course this is smoking gun evidence of censorship, but as the reality is not quite as sinister I’ll do something to rectify the situation now that the database has finally stopped hiccuping.
The proverbial shit hit the fan in May, from a very offhand statement over election funding. The law passed in 2000 states that MP’s should make a public notice of donations that were over 1700 euros from a single donor. The Centre parliamentary group leader Timo Kalli went ahead and made a statement in A-studio tv talkshow that he hadn’t disclosed some of his biggest donors – and wouldn’t – as there weren’t any sanctions for not disclosing the donors. Now a parliamentarian who had himself been drafting the very legislation showing such a disrespect to the law got people, both in the parliament and the public, to demand if not his head on the platter some other organs put in a vice.
After Kalli had let the cat out of the bag, several more MP’s got a miraculous cure from amnesia and donors started to appear on the lists. A curious “association” that had donated money to several Centre party candidates was “Kehittyvien Maakuntien Suomi” (Finland of Developing Provinces) that after several weeks of hounding by the press was shown to be made up at the Centre party office, and the funds it redistributed were mainly by a quintet of businessmen with their hands in real estate and other development projects in the “provinces”. Now having a “friendly politician” has always been a businessman’s wet dream, and even if it was only dreaming, a few statements that have been published make the ties too close for comfort.
There were a few other than Centre party candidates who got money from the association, but most of the money was channelled to the Centre. The Centre party claimed to have had no knowledge over the dealings, until it came into public that not only the Centre party officers had been involved in the association, but namely the head of development had been in access of the bank accounts and made money transfers. Of course, both the head of development and the party secretary have taken a sick leave. The prime minister has distanced himself from the scandal and is now in Japan learning the art of public harakiri.
The public uproar has achieved something – there is an agreement of donation caps, 3000 euros in the municipal elections and 6000 in the parliamentary. As a gentlemen’s agreement it is to be passed as a law – though if there will be sanctions that remains to be seen.
There is a lot of articles on ths case and its slow unfolding and the squirming of politicians in the HS International Edition. The latest one today, but theres going to be a lot more unraveling. The question of the opposition trying to topple the Prime Minister isn’t quite out of the question, and the Centre Party is having its own annual meeting shortly and the discussion there can also get somewhat heated.