Mental explosions heard throughout the day and night in Helsinki and in scattered sections across the country….
President on brewing gov’t crisis
Virtually right after it happened on Saturday, Finland’s political leaders began reacting to the election of the Finns Party’s new chair, the Eurosceptic and anti-immigration hardliner Jussi Halla-aho.
Speaking from his official summer residence Kultaranta on Sunday, President Sauli Niinistö was cautiously sceptical about Halla-aho’s victory.
“It appears that [the Finns Party] has become a completely new party,” Niinistö said, according to Hufvudstadsbladet.
The paper writes that Niinistö did not appear to be enamoured with either Halla-aho or the party’s vice chair Teuvo Hakkarainen. Both men, the paper notes, have previously been convicted of hate speech.
“[The party] has quite a job before them if they want to convince people that the things that led to their convictions would now vanish from the world. It would behove them to better behave themselves so that no new incidents occur again. I also haven’t heard either of them distance themselves from their previous comments,” the paper quotes Niinistö.
Halla-aho’s win has also raised doubts in other government coalition parties and speculation about a possible collapse of the governing coalition.
Over the weekend pundits speculated whether Halla-aho’s immigration policies are viewed as too radical by the other parties in government.
According to Finland’s biggest daily Helsingin Sanomat, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, who heads the three-party coalition which includes his Centre Party, the National Coalition and Finns parties, will spend Monday examining whether a government reshuffle is necessary.
HBL writes that Sipilä plans to meet with Halla-aho and NCP chair Petteri Orpo on Monday to discuss whether the government can continue in its present form, as well as to ask Hall-aho his positions on the administration’s program and his values.