European Parliament member Jussi Halla-aho will not be a candidate in Finland’s next parliamentary elections. The Finns Party MEP informed the public of his decision on Friday after he presented his first draft of the Finns Party’s immigration programme ahead of the elections in April.
Among other things, the draft penned by Halla-aho recommends a reassessment of the quota refugee system used in Finland, that Finland keep records of income transfers among persons of the same nationality, and that Finland change its citizenship requirements to make it possible to also cancel a person’s citizenship if deemed necessary. The Finns Party’s official policy on immigration would also require persons approved to receive social assistance (toimentulotuki), a benefit allocated to Finnish residents whose income and assets are not sufficient to cover the essential expenses of everyday life, to inform the immigration officials of their status.
Halla-aho also said that the core of Finland’s immigration policy should be the defence of national interests and not "the rose-tinted specs ideal of embracing the global community". The Finns Party’s leadership is expected to examine Halla-aho’s policy draft next week.
Halla-aho announced he would not be seeking re-election in April’s parliamentary elections. After being elected as a Finnish representative to the European Parliament last year in a landslide victory, he now says he is better able to further his agenda and is more use in Brussels than here in his home country.
On December 9, Halla-aho was quoted as saying that the Finns Party has no shortage of good MPs. Halla-aho enjoys wide popularity throughout Finland, as was indicated by an analysis of the votes in the European elections. Finns Party leadership had called on Halla-aho to participate in the April elections in a bid to bring in more votes.
“It is a little worrying if the party’s election success is thought to be continuously dependent on whether one or two people participate in all possible elections,” Halla-aho said last week.