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Antti Rinne, the chairperson of the Social Democrats, effectively ruled out forming a ruling coalition with the Finns Party in a political debate hosted by Alma Media in Helsinki on Wednesday. (Credit: Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva)
Antti Rinne, the chairperson of the Social Democrats, effectively ruled out forming a ruling coalition with the Finns Party in a political debate hosted by Alma Media in Helsinki on Wednesday. (Credit: Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva)

 

The Finns Party is hardly perceived as an appealing coalition partner by the leaders of the largest political parties in Finland.

“Now it’s looking impossible,” Antti Rinne, the chairperson of the poll-topping Social Democratic Party, retorted when asked about the possibility of forming a coalition government with the populist opposition party during a political debate hosted by Alma Media in Helsinki on Wednesday.

Rinne had previously indicated that coalition co-operation with the populist party seems “difficult”.

The question was posed also to Petteri Orpo, the chairperson of the National Coalition, and Juha Sipilä, the chairperson of the Centre.

Sipilä called attention to the importance of the long-standing tradition of not excluding any party from the coalition formation negotiations before the elections. He, however, also conceded that it would be difficult to find common values with the Finns Party.

“We don’t yet know which group of people will be elected from the Finns Party,” he reminded. “I won’t speculate on what the situation will be like in 2019.”

Orpo, similarly, refused to rule out the possibility entirely but indicated that the differences between the values of the two parties may ultimately prove an insurmountable obstacle to coalition co-operation.

“There has been no change [in terms of the values],” he said. “We’ll give them a chance to move closer to our values.”

This section of the debate frustrated Sampo Terho, the chairperson of the Blue Reform. Terho warned the media against creating an impression of a two-party system by pitting all other parties against the Finns Party, saying it would play directly into the hands of Halla-aho.

“Don’t do it,” he pleaded. “[The Finns Party] is a medium-sized opposition party.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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