Finnish PM seeks new coalition after ousting populists

Halla-aho, 46, replaces moderate Timo Soini, who has led the party for 20 years.

Finnish PM seeks new coalition after ousting populists

World Bulletin / News Desk

Finland's prime minister was to tender his coalition government's resignation on Tuesday after ousting a populist, anti-immigration and eurosceptic party whose new leader has been convicted of hate speech.

Prime Minister Juha Sipila, who has headed a coalition made up of his Centre Party, the conservative National Coalition and the Finns Party since May 2015, announced Monday he wanted to end to the coalition after the Finns elected Jussi Halla-aho as party leader, saying a collaboration was impossible.

Sipila was scheduled to meet President Sauli Niinisto on Tuesday at 1200 GMT to formally submit his government's resignation. 

The president is expected to give Sipila a mandate to form a new coalition, enabling him to govern until the end of the legislature in 2019.

The Swedish People's Party, representing the Swedish-speaking minority, and the Christian Democrats have said they are willing to hold talks aimed at joining the government, while the left-wing opposition -- the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left -- have insisted that new elections be called.

Sipila appears to be opposed to a vote.

"The goal is to have a viable government as soon as possible... in line with the current government program," daily Helsingin Sanomat quoted him as saying.

The head of the conservative party, Finance Minister Petteri Orpo, said the future government must be founded on the same principles as the current one. 

"We have had a turn of events in Finland. It would be a great pity if the political line would change," he said.

After Halla-aho's election on Saturday, the conservatives swiftly rejected any cooperation with the Finns Party.

"Undeniable human dignity is the foundation of Western democracy," Orpo said on Monday.

Last Mod: 13 Haziran 2017, 13:15
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