Ex-Finns Party parliamentary chief to vie for chair of breakaway Blue Reform party

European Affairs, Sports and Culture Minister Sampo Terho says he wants the chairmanship of the Blue Reform, the official political party formed by the New Alternative, a breakaway group of Finns Party MPs. Terho lost to ultra-nationalist Jussi Halla-aho during Finns Party leadership elections in June.

Sampo Terho Image: Yle

Former Finns Party parliamentary group chair and current European Affairs, Sports and Culture Minister Sampo Terho says he will stand for the leadership of the new political party Blue Reform during the autumn. No other candidates have so far come forward.

Blue Reform is the name of the political party formed by New Alternative MPs, who split from Finns Party MPs in the parliament following the election of eurosceptic and fierce immigration critic Jussi Halla-aho as party leader.

"I will probably stand as a candidate in for party chair, but it is premature to be sure of this and whether or not there will be other candidates," Terho said on Yle’s A-Studio discussion programme Monday evening.

Terho: Relationship with Finns Party polite

Terho said that he was saddened by the breakup of the party, which occurred after government coalition members the Centre and National Coalition parties announced that they would not form a government with a Finns Party led by Jussi Halla-aho, who has been convicted of hate speech.

"I feel sadness that things had to end this way. Even at the moment when I lost the election, I didn’t believe that all of this would happen. But it all began that weekend," Terho said, referring to the Finns Party leadership election in June, where he lost to Halla-aho.

According to Terho, relations between current Finns Party members and New Alternative MPs are polite.

"Our relationship is quite steady, but there is nothing to discuss. I have not traded insults with anyone either," he revealed.

Terho did not want to comment further on his role in the breakup of the Finns Party and the establishment of the New Alternative parliamentary group.

"I will comment on these things at some point in my memoirs. The media reportage has been relatively accurate," he added.