Finnish coalition partners discuss whether to break up government

Elias Hubbard
June 26, 2017

Smaller parties such as the Christian Democrats and the Swedish People's Party, and possibly also The Greens, are likely to show interest in entering Sipila's center-right government, which took office in May 2015.

Sipila said the value difference with Jussi Halla-aho, new leader of the Finns Party, was too large.

Twenty members of the Finns Party parliamentary group announced in Helsinki on Tuesday that they would leave the True Finns group and form a separate parliamentary group named as The New Alternative.

Sipila was scheduled to meet President Sauli Niinisto at 1200 GMT on Tuesday to formally submit his government's resignation.

He added that the new group - which includes former Finns party leader Timo Soini and all other current Finns party ministers - was ready to participate in Sipila's coalition government in its current programme.

The meeting was arranged after the Prime Minister and National Coalition leader Petteri Orpo determined they were unable to remain in government with a Finns Party led by Halla-aho.

They will now be left out of government with 17 MPs, including two who have said they will quit.

"The goal is to have a viable government as soon as possible in line with the current government program", daily Helsingin Sanomat quoted him as saying.

The Finns party was a rare example of a European populist party that had managed to hold Cabinet positions, but Halla-aho's election had threatened to put an end to that.

Halla-aho was elected chairman of the Finns Party on Saturday. He said he had already talked with all parliamentary parties on Monday.

"The new leadership's view of justice, equality, human rights and so on are not the same as the Centre Party's".

As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), Halla-aho has said he wants to steer the party further to the right and push his coalition partners to toughen their immigration policies.

In 2012 he was fined by Finland's Supreme Court in 2012 for comments on a blog that linked Islam to paedophilia and Somalis to theft.

Earlier this year, he demanded that the European Commission penalise civic organisations which rescue migrants from drowning when their ships founder in the Mediterranean.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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