Saturday, May 31, 2008


Day 173: EURO
Originally uploaded by • Sandra •
The investigation into links between policy and campaign funding does not show any signs of ending in Finland. The discussion shows well the dangers of an outdated perception. Finns have boasted at home and on international platforms about the rankings as the country least influenced by corruption in the world. Finns tend to describe themselves as honest and sincere. This has led to putting very little effort into making sure that the system lives up to this perception.

As the Prime Minister and his party are now put into the spotlight, Prime Minister Vanhanen gets extremely defensive when people question the links between his corporate funders and the pro-business policies he drives. This is again the Prime Minister who feels that political processes should not be discussed in public before the decision has been made by the Cabinet. At the same time however he takes positions on issues that belong to individual ministers whilst knowing that these positions go against the environmental and urban planning legislation.

Finland has a law that requires that candidates give the Ministry of Justice a report on their funding and funders. As the media has been investigating the funding of several ministers, one sees how more and more MPs suddenly tend to "remember" to readjust their old reports and "realise" that they had forgotten to mention some core funders. What is shocking and disturbing is the way legislators consciously choose not to follow their own decisions. Rightly so, Vanhanen's popularity is starting to have similar features as Mr Bush's or Mr Sarkozy's and some are even calling for new elections.

I can live with the fact that mistakes happen and some abuses take place. But the current debate on campaign funding shows pure arrogance towards the people, towards the law and towards democracy. The Prime Minister's reactions show how he tends to feel like he is entitled to his position, that he is chosen by something above to administrate the nation and therefore feels insulted when people question his motives. This attitude sounds more like a monarch than an elected leader.

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