The Finns Party leader: Our target is zero asylum seekers

By Robert
4 Min Read

The newly elected leader of Finland’s national-conservative party has expressed concern over projected demographic changes that could see Finnish people become a minority in the country’s second-largest city by the 2050s.

During remarks giving at her first policy speech as the newly elected chairperson of The Finns Party, Riikka Purra, who replaced Jussi Halla-aho after his four years in charge, drew particular attention to the party’s hardline stance on immigration, noting that it is an issue that the party is unwilling to compromise on, the Helsinki-based newspaper Yle reports.

“We oppose immigration policy that’s harmful to our country,” she said, adding that a “party which isn’t willing to tighten the immigration policy cannot be in a government with the Finns Party.”

“We want changes in border policy and so-called humanitarian and social immigration. Our target is zero asylum seekers, as is the case with the Danish Social Democrat-led government,” Purra continued, adding that tightening the conditions for family reunification and the criteria for citizenship as being among the objectives for the Finns Party.

Purra may be looking to Denmark as a model to emulate in Finland. Denmark’s government has recently introduced a raft of measures to reduce immigration and deport those who fail to integrate, with the goal of “zero refugees” being admitted into the country.

Purra also voiced great concern over projected demographic changes in Finland, saying: “Yes, we are concerned about changes in the population base. For example, in about 15 years, one-third of the residents in Espoo will be foreign speakers… Or in about 2053, Finns will be a minority in Espoo. I am convinced that most Finns do not like this development. It’s another matter whether they have the courage to say so out loud.”

“For demographic reasons alone, a significant reduction in immigration is essential, as newcomers will never run out,” she added.

The 44-year-old party leader also criticized her political adversaries who she says often use an antiquated right-left view of politics to smear The Finns Party.

“Many still want to put us somewhere in the right-left dimension,” she began. “However, it is difficult because we are mainly operating in a different dimension. We support a tax-funded welfare system and safety nets, as well as Finnish work. Does that make us leftists? We want to reduce the expanding public sector and prioritize government spending and support entrepreneurship. Does that make us right-wing?”

“The right-left dimension is, in many respects, outdated and unusable,” she concluded.

Over the weekend, Purra, an MP from Kirkkonummi, became the first woman to lead The Finns Party after she received 774 votes, around 59 percent of the 1,302 votes cast at the party conference in Seinäjoki, making a second round of voting unnecessary.

Purra’s selection as the party’s chairperson was widely anticipated, as speculation that she would take the reins of the party has circulated throughout the party since she was first elected as deputy chairperson in Tampere in 2019.

“It’s been a pleasure to work in the field with Riikka Purra over the last four years,” said former party chairperson Jussi Halla-aho. 

“She is a well-known and loved figure to Finns Party members. I believe that this starts a good chapter for the party.”

Purra takes charge of a party that consistently polls among the top three political powers in Finland, and has a chance to enter government after the next election which is set to take place in 2023.

Share This Article