Written by Staff Writer
On Friday, a photo of Finland’s Prime Minister, Juha Sipila, and three other politicians engaging in compromising behaviour surfaced.
The photo showed Sipila looking “off color” and wearing a flashy gold earring while trying to separate a sleeping birthday boy from his birthday girl. He also has a hand on a woman’s leg. Another is holding a can of Pina Colada, Finland’s biggest alcoholic drink.
The photo was published after Sipila won re-election on March 15 and took office.
“I apologize for what was shown in the picture, not for anything that has already happened — just for the lack of discretion shown, the lack of respect shown and the lack of personal honesty shown by me,” Sipila said in a statement on Friday.
Sipila explained he was not aware of the photograph’s existence when it was taken in 2015 because it had been deleted from his phone.
“I actually show in the photograph that I cannot control myself when trying to separate young people that are in the habit of sleeping alone during the night,” he said.
“I admit it is sometimes necessary to have people who occupy the room next to you to help in this matter. To ensure that this does not occur in the future, I am going to always put a back door in place.”
Other politicians who were seen in the picture included Sipila’s Democratic Center Party deputy head, Antti Rinne, second elected Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen and a party member from the Finnish parliament, the National Coalition Party’s secretary general, Paul Ola Lind.
“I did not agree with myself to do that and do not think it was a good image to have in parliament,” Vanhanen said.
“In no way would I agree that [Sipila and Lind] are consenting to the pictures in the picture,” Vanhanen said, adding he is taking the initiative to clarify what happened.
“This incident shows that people can be wrong, people can fall out of your position and people can say things that you may not necessarily like or agree with,” he said.
Sipila met Vanhanen once when he was a member of the legislature.
Sipila said Friday that the picture surfaced a few days ago and that he has taken the decision to separate himself from it.
“I want to establish that I did not negotiate it, and in that regard I have demanded and will receive my resignation from the chairmanship of the parliament,” he said.