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Greens chair Haavisto: Not likely to join a govt with Finns Party

"It is very important that the government is positive toward EU development," Haavisto said.

Eduskuntavaalit 2019. Pikkuparlamentin tulosilta. Vihreiden Pekka Haavisto ja keskustan Juha Sipilä.
Greens chair Pekka Haavisto (left) with outgoing Prime Minister Juha Sipilä of the Centre Party on Sunday. Image: Tuomo Björksten

Green Party chair Pekka Haavisto has said that he would like to see his party join the incoming government, but noted that issues like education, climate and measures against social marginalisation need to be emphasised if it does.

"It is very important that the government is positive toward EU development," he added.

On Tuesday Haavisto said he would not yet speculate on the various coalition-building possibilities that may take shape over the coming days.

He said other matters - particularly the potential size of government's majority - need to be examined, for example whether it is even feasible to form a government with support from fewer than 110 MPs.

After that's sorted out, Haavisto said, it will be time to begin considering government programmes.

Finns Party cooperation?

Haavisto was diplomatic about whether the Greens would join a government with the populist Finns Party, suggesting he thinks the two parties would not likely join forces.

"In that scenario, one side will need to change, and it's not the Greens," he said.

Haavisto also said the work load of coalition building may be lightened by the Centre Party's change in leadership. On Tuesday outgoing Prime Minister Juha Sipilä announced he was leaving his Centre Party chair post in September.

Haavisto thanked Sipilä for cooperation in efforts that both parties worked on, specifically noting their work regarding climate policy.

The Greens leader said he believes a government will be formed by the end of next month.

EU elections loom

Finland's EU Presidency period begins on 1 July, a situation that will likely help along the process of government formation in good time, he said, saying that Finland cannot afford to have freshly-minted ministers when it assumes the presidency.

Sunday's elections brought five more Greens into parliament, for a total of 20.

"It is an interesting new group of three men and 17 women. Of the members, 14 are new and their range of ages is large," he said.

He said last Sunday's good results for the Greens' female candidates will likely carry over to the party's leadership elections next month, and suggested that the party's next chair would likely be a woman.

Haavisto reiterated that he still has no plans to run for the chair post himself, which the party will elect this summer. He took over the job last autumn after the party's previous chair Touko Aalto stepped down for health reasons.

Edited at 7:52 pm 16 April 2019 to reflect that Haavisto said he thinks his party's next chair will be a woman.

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