Sampo Terho, the chairperson of the Finns Party Parliamentary Group, has revealed that his campaign to succeed Timo Soini as the chairperson of the Finns Party will focus on economic and employment policy, immigration policy and the policy towards the European Union.
Finland, he stressed, should seek to eliminate any pull factors attracting unfounded asylum applications to the extent that is allowed by the European Union.
- Sampo Terho, 39, was elected to the Finnish Parliament from the electoral district of Helsinki in April, 2015.
- He was appointed as chairperson of the Finns Party Parliamentary Group in June, 2015, following Jari Lindström’s appointment as the Minister of Justice and Employment.
- He served as a Member of the European Parliament in 2011–2014, after filling the seat vacated by Timo Soini, and won re-election to the European Parliament in 2014.
Terho stated that he is in favour of adhering to the changes introduced to the family reunification policy, such as the much-debated income requirements, by the Government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre).
“I’ll pay close attention to the unfair implementation of asylum seeker transfers within the EU,” he promised.
He indicated that he represents largely the same values as one of his possible challengers in the leadership race, Jussi Halla-aho, a Member of the European Parliament who is known for his hawkish position on immigration.
“I’m also an immigration critic,” told Terho. “Immigration policy will be a key part of my platform.”
Terho called for a level-leaded debate about the realised advantages and disadvantages of membership in the European Union, revealing that he is also open to the possibility of the Finns Party demanding that the membership be put before the public in a referendum.
“It may even be a deal-breaker,” he said.
Terho also voiced his support for the current, “reasonable” economic and employment policy by estimating that it has successfully brought about a turn for the better in Finland. The benefits of the “difficult but right” policy decisions will according to him become even clearer towards the end of the current electoral term.
He voiced his confidence that the Finns Party will yet again prove opinion polls wrong in the municipal elections held in April. The elections, he added, will set the stage for a constructive leadership race where the key will be to foster the unity of the Finns Party.
Terho also confirmed that he is interested in taking an important ministerial portfolio if he emerges victorious from the leadership race. He declined to comment further on the possible ministerial re-shuffle ahead, thus leaving the door open for Soini to complete his four-year term as the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
- Terho announces leadership bid, gets nod from Lohela, Niinistö (07 March, 2017)
He has already received the endorsements of two senior members of the Finns Party: Maria Lohela, the Speaker of the Parliament, and Jussi Niinistö, the Minister of Defence. Niinistö has suggested that the next chairperson should also accept the presidential nomination of the Finns Party.
Terho said he is prepared to enter the presidential race regardless of whether or not he is selected as the successor of Soini.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi