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Newly-elected Halla-aho sparks debate about future of Government coalition

The election of anti-immigration and eurosceptic Jussi Halla-aho to lead the Finns Party has caused an uproar. Opposition leaders have called for new parliament elections, while Finance Minister and leader of the NCP Petteri Orpo stated his party will not stay in Government unconditionally.

Jussi Halla-aho on perussuomalaisten uusi puheenjohtaja.
Jussi Halla-aho Image: Mikko Vähäniitty / Lehtikuva

Jussi Halla-aho’s rise to Finns Party leader has sparked heated debate about what kind of role the Finns will play in Government – or whether the current coalition can continue at all.

Prime Minister Sipilä has called a Monday morning meeting with leaders of all governing parties. The aim is to discuss the future of the three-party coalition and hear out the newly-elected Finns Party chair.

Sipilä commented how the values of his Centre Party are in stark contrast to those of Halla-aho, and believes there will be some changes in cabinet positions.

During the race for chairmanship, Halla-aho announced he would not allow Soini to continue as Foreign Minister, as it would undermine the authority of the new chairman.

”The Finns Party is a completely new party with new policies now,” Sipilä said.

Sipilä stressed he would not negotiate on immigration policy or any other matter in the government programme.

Halla-aho has promised he would push for harder immigration policy.

”We will without a doubt continue to adhere to the government programme. I will not bow down to any kind of blackmail,” Sipilä said.

NCP "seriously considering" continuing collaboration with Finns

Finance Minister and Chair of the National Coalition Party (NCP) Petteri Orpo said the NCP has to seriously consider whether the party stay in a government with a Finns Party led by anti-immigration and eurosceptic Halla-aho.

”The NCP will not stay in Government unconditionally,” Orpo said.

”Simply committing to the government programme is not enough. This is a matter of principles, the same principles our government programme is built on,” Orpo said, citing a clause in the government programme stating "Finland is open and international, rich in languages and cultures”.

Opposition in outrage

Halla-aho’s victory has caused commotion in the opposition. Li Andersson, leader of the Left Alliance took to Twitter to call for a new parliamentary election. She said that under Halla-aho’s lead the Finns Party will become a clearer right-wing conservative party with a racist agenda.

All eyes will be on the Centre Party and the NCP and their next move, as Halla-aho is scheduled to announce his policies at the Finns Party convention in Jyväskylä tomorrow, Sunday.

Swedish People Party chair Anna-Maja Henriksson said her party would be up for negotiations of the Finns were to leave Government.

”It would be a patriotic deed,” Henriksson said.

The Centre Party and the NCP would need the Swedish People’s Party and the Christian Democrats to gain a 101 MP majority in Parliament.

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