A vivid debate is taking place in Finland. Is the Finns Party a far-right one or it belongs to the family of the centrist parties?

Oula Silvennoinen, a history researcher at the University of Helsinki, told the Finnish YLE A-studio that the Finns are part of the far right.

“It’d be good to make it clear also to the viewers what we mean by the far right. It’s a relatively broad term that incorporates right-wing extremists, neo-Nazi organisations like the Nordic Resistance Movement and radical right-wing parties like the Finns Party,” said Silvennoinen reported Helsinki Times.

“The Finns Party directly fits the definition of right-wing radicalism [in terms of] its approach to authoritarianism, hierarchical society and categorical thinking,” according to Silvennoinen.

Silvennoinen is a known historian with important research work in his carrier. He was also a candidate of the Green League in April’s parliamentary elections.

What Silvennoinen said about the Finns couldn’t surprise anybody in Europe.

In response a harsh reaction came from the Finns’ camp.

According to Riikka Slunga-Poutsalo, an ex-party secretary the Finns “is a centrist party”.

“Our party’s political decisions, programmes and all the things we promote, and how we deal with voters are all in the centre. The old left-right [political] axis is from a bygone era. We’re a conservative party, yes, but not a far-right one,” claimed the Finns politician according to HT.

However facts are against the “centrist picture” depicted by Slunga-Poutsalo.

What kind of centrist party should march with the Nazis every Independence Day?

Many MPs of the Finns (its previous title was the True Finns) have made racist public statements. On 8 June 2012, Jussi Halla-aho, now the leader of the party and MEP, was found guilty by the Supreme Court for disturbing religious worship and provoking ethnic agitation for his statements about Muhammad.

Among other cases in October 2013, an MP invited a neo-Nazi activist as his guest to the parliament and did not react when his guest made several Nazi salutes.

Recently the Finns abandoned the European Reformists and Conservatives Group (ECR) in the European Parliament to join the new far-right Group Identity and Democracy (ID).

ID Group is the successor to the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group.

ID’s leaders are Matteo Salvini of the Italian League and Marine Le Pen of the French National Rally. Among its members are the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE).

Is this a “centrist” club?

Is racism, anti-immigration actions, hate speech, discrimination against “difference” (Muslims, Roma, LGBT persons), anti-Semitism, climate change denialism to mention some of their policies, part of the centrist and democratic political environment?