Finland's 200 MPs are elected every four years and they enact legislation, approve state budget, ratify international treaties and oversee the Government of the Republic. The last parliamentary election in Finland was in April 2011. It was during the 2011 election that James Hirvisaari and Jussi Hala-aho were elected to parliament.
The duo share a lot in common.
Both are MPs for the populist Perussuomalaiset party and are linked to Suomen Sisu, a nationalist Finnish organization that kicks against Islam, immigration and multiculturalism. Both are bloggers, both attack immigration, Islam and multiculturalism in their writings. More importantly, both MPs were convicted in relation to hate speech and inciting hatred against an ethnic group in relation to writing published online.
Hirvisaari was convicted in December 2010 and in June 2012, the Supreme Court denied him leave to appeal.
The fact that both politicians were voted into parliament after they were found guilty by courts is an indication that some voters and the Perussuomalaiset political party are not worried about being represented in parliament by convicted politicians who make no secret of their hateful and derogatory views about ethnic and religious minorities. This sends a wrong message that lawmakers could be lawbreakers.
Persons convicted of incitement of hatred against ethnic minorities should not be credited with seats in parliament and tasked with enacting laws.
All is not bleak. Electing convicts to represent the public and enact legislation is unreasonable and somewhat laughable, but it is also an indication that democracy is alive.