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Leader of Swedish People's Party youth wing walks out of government formation talks

Julia Ståhle says that the party's youth wing has never supported entering government with the Finns Party.

Photo of Julia Ståhle looking into the camera.
Julia Ståhle, chair of the youth wing of the Swedish People's Party. Image: Catariina Salo / Yle
Yle News

As talks aimed at forming Finland's next coalition government entered a fifth week on Monday, the leader of the youth wing of the Swedish People's Party (SPP) made a dramatic exit from the negotiations.

SPP youth chair Julia Ståhle had been one of her party's representatives at the talks, but walked out of the House of the Estates on Monday afternoon saying that the proposed programme for government no longer reflects the goals of her party, or its youth wing.

"After Saturday's events, I think it's time for me to leave," Ståhle told Svenska Yle on her departure.

Ståhle was referring to disagreements over the weekend between the SPP and the three other parties in the talks — the National Coalition Party, the Finns Party and the Christian Democrats — over proposed changes to immigration and climate policy.

The Swedish People's Party's parliamentary group met on Saturday afternoon to discuss the draft proposals, with chair Anna-Maja Henriksson later telling the media that the SPP would not approve of the policy outlines on immigration, adding she felt that the negotiations on that contentious issue were left unfinished.

However, SPP's parliamentary group eventually said it would accept the proposals "with minor changes".

"When we went through the [SPP's] proposals in concrete terms, they were such that we could accept them," NCP chair and PM-designate Petteri Orpo said, but declined to specify what the changes were.

Finns Party leader Riikka Purra had demanded that the four parties reach a consensus on immigration and climate policy before focusing on other topics. She told reporters on Saturday that planned immigration restrictions were not rolled back, adding that no substantive changes were made following Saturday's text revisions.

Following her exit from the talks, Ståhle said that her decision to leave had been brewing for a while. She added that in her view the entire party should leave the government formation negotiations, and that the party's youth wing has never supported entering government with the Finns Party.

Orpo: Climate law is the law

Speaking at a press conference later on Monday, PM-designate Orpo said that he could not comment about individuals involved in the negotiations but acknowledged that the negotiations have been difficult for some.

"I understand that the immigration issue was particularly difficult for the SPP, but I cannot comment on individual people and the [government formation] working groups are continuing to work," Orpo said.

He also emphasised the importance of everyone being on the same page and denied that the Swedish Peoples' Party had been steamrolled in terms of the immigration issues being discussed.

Orpo was also asked how the future government would be able to continue working towards Finland's goal of carbon neutrality by the year 2035 with the Finns Party's leader Purra saying such a goal is unrealistic.

He pointed out that the emissions goal was put in the country's Climate Act by the government of outgoing Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP).

"The Climate Act [issue] will not be opened. At least I live by the rule of law, where the climate law is the law," he said.

Edited at 16:55 to add Orpo's comments later on Monday.

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