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Anna-Maja Henriksson, the chair of the Swedish People’s Party, referred to Foreign Minister Timo Soini’s decision to leave the Finns Party and join New Alternative as “a betrayal”.

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Leader of the Swedish People’s Party (SFP) Anna-Maja Henriksson has compared the dramatic formation of New Alternative to something out of Netflix’s House of Cards. If we stick to this analogy, it seems that she may view Foreign Minister Timo Soini as Finland’s answer to Frank Underwood.

To recap, Jussi Halla-aho was voted as chair of the Finns Party on 10 July. He met with Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and Finance Minister Petteri Orpo two days later, with Sipilä and Orpo coming to the conclusion that they were unable to remain as a three-party coalition with a Finns Party under his leadership. On Tuesday it appeared inevitable that Parliament would be dissolved. Then, out of nowhere, it was saved by the emergence of a Finns Party splinter group known as New Alternative.

When the events are listed like that, comparing them to a House of Cards storyline doesn’t seem to be much of a stretch. It’s certainly not a pleasing narrative for Henriksson, however, as there was previously talk about the SFP and Christian Democrats filling the void left by the Finns Party. This was foiled by the appearance of New Alternative.

As reported by Yle, Henriksson has since voiced her surprise about the actions of former Finns Party chair Timo Soini: “We’ve seen the former leader Timo Soini give up his own party, something he said was impossible only ten days ago”. She added that the Foreign Minister’s change of heart amounted to “a betrayal”, and that she had the impression the plan might have already been in place earlier.

One thing that pleased Henriksson was the government’s decision not to cooperate with a Finns Party led by Halla-aho. “I listened very carefully to their speeches about how important values are, and that Finland has a clear policy on EU politics. I hope that the things they said yesterday will also apply to the current government in the future,” Henriksson said.

Dan Anderson – HT
Photo: Lehtikuva / Markku Ulander

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