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Soini off to fiery start as opposition leader

True Finns' leader Timo Soini was unanimously re-elected as party chair in Tampere on Saturday -- while taking his first shots at the newly-formed government.

Timo Soini
Timo Soini perussuomalaisten puoluekokouksessa Tampereella 18.6.2011. Image: YLE

The leader of the main opposition party addressed some 1,000 members of the party's faithful at the True Finns' congress. He took the opportunity to lambast the newly-baked government and its agenda.

Soini particularly criticised the Left Alliance for joining the conservative-led cabinet. He heaped scorn on Left chair Paavo Arhinmäki, noting that he had not even made any public complaint about the new cabinet's EU policies.

No EU flags!

Despite being the landslide winner of the election two months ago, Soini twice declined to join such a coalition because of its likely support for bailouts for eurozone states in crisis. On Saturday he pointed out that no EU flag was flying at the congress, adding that one never would.

Soini also ripped into the new government's agenda, which was unveiled the previous evening. He criticised it for forgetting pensioners, cutting back on defence funding and raising excise taxes and the price of petrol.

While party founder Soini's re-election was a foregone conclusion, there could be other changes in the party's top brass. Soini expressed the wish that more women would be included in the leadership.

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