Finland’s leading party plans coalition with anti-immigration Finns party

National Coalition Party chair Petteri Orpo speaks at the Finnish parliamentary elections media reception at the Finnish parliament in Helsinki, Finland, on Sunday, April 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

Finland’s new government is likely heading in a decidedly conservative direction after the president of Finland’s election-winning National Coalition Party (NCP), Petteri Orpo, said he plans to form a coalition with the right-wing Finns Party, a party known for its strong stance against mass immigration.

Unlike in neighboring Sweden, where the coalition government agreed to cooperate with the Sweden Democrats but refused to actually allow the party into the coalition, Finland’s new government would directly include the Finns party, giving it more power to decide on government policy.

Formal negotiations to form a new Finnish government, which will begin on May 2, will bring together the center-right NCP, which Orpo leads, and the Finns’ Party, as well as two other small parties, Orpo announced at a press conference in Helsinki.

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Such an alliance with the Finns Party, which won 20.1 percent of the vote in the April 2 parliamentary elections, would mean a new anti-immigrant party coming to power in Europe, and mark a string of victories for such parties. It would also cement Scandinavia’s turn toward a more right-wing direction on the issue of immigration and sovereignty.

Orpo also had the option of forming a coalition: with the center-left Social Democratic Party of the resigning prime minister, Sanna Marin, but has rejected that course.

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“There are of course differences between the parties. And certainly, as we know, there are issues on which these different views exist,” Orpo told reporters. However, after preliminary discussions over the past few weeks with the Finns Party, “we collectively felt that these issues could be resolved. There are no insurmountable differences,” Orpo said.

A previous coalition included the Finns Party, formerly the True Finns, between 2015 and 2017. Members of coalitions in the Finnish parliament traditionally inherit cabinet posts, and the second party in the ruling coalition usually takes the post of finance minister. The other two small parties in the possible future coalition are the Christian Democrats and the Swedish People’s Party of Finland, traditional allies of the Finnish right.

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