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Finnish Minister Apologizes Over Instagram Poll

New finance minister Katri Kulmuni faulted for using social media on serious policy question
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2019 4:04 PM CST
From left, Minister of Education Li Andersson, Minister of Interior Maria Ohisalo, Prime Minister Sanna Marin, and Minister of Finance Katri Kulmuni during a press conference of the new Finnish government...   (Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva via AP)

(Newser) – Finland's new finance minister has apologized and yanked a poll she put up on Instagram to get citizens' opinions on a serious policy issue. Katri Kulmuni asked people whether the nation should let Finnish women with links to Islamic State return to Finland from a camp in Syria, or whether just their children should be allowed to return, reports Reuters. But the choice of forum to handle such a question drew quick criticism. “Seriously, Finland? This is awful, if true,” tweeted Andrew Stroehlein of Human Rights Watch. Nations should "not put life-and-death decisions about those citizens to a public referendum on social media," he added. "What’s next, public hangings based on the volume of stadium cheers?"

Amid the criticism, the 32-year-old Kulmuni pulled the poll, reports the BBC. “My aim to have a discussion on social media about a complicated topic failed," she said in a tweet of her own. "I apologize for the poll. ... The style was unsuccessful." The policy issue is indeed a complicated one: Few are opposed to the idea of the children being allowed in to Finland, but many are leery of allowing their mothers, who at least at one point were loyal to ISIS, to accompany them. What's more, the Syrian Kurds who run the camp don't want the mothers separated from their children. The government will continue to wrestle with the issue, just not on Instagram. (Kulmuni is part of a new government run by the world's young prime minister.)

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