Jussi Halla-aho (left), a Member of the European Parliament, and Sampo Terho, the chairperson of the Finns Party Parliamentary Group, are both looking to become the next chairperson of the Finns Party.

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Two of the four candidates vying for the leadership of the Finns Party, Sampo Terho and Jussi Halla-aho, have announced their willingness to place asylum seekers under tighter surveillance.

Both Terho and Halla-aho voiced their support for detaining asylum seekers for the duration of the asylum procedure – a policy adopted, to the dismay of human rights groups, in Hungary in March – in a leadership debate on YLE TV1 on Wednesday.

“We have to be well aware of where the applicants are. You can’t hang around here after receiving a negative asylum decision, because that's really what’s creating the security risk,” explained Terho.

Halla-aho similarly expressed his support for the controversial approach.

“I think detaining all asylum seekers is justified first for the duration of the asylum procedure and especially once the asylum application has been processed and rejected,” he stated.

Finland should also be prepared to violate international treaties in the event of an influx of asylum seekers similar to the one witnessed in the second half of 2015, according to both of the candidates.

Halla-aho, for example, stated that the country should categorically refuse to accept asylum applications from safe countries, namely from Sweden.

“The right to seek asylum does not mean that everyone has the right to choose the country they seek asylum in,” he argued.

The Finns Party will convene to select a successor to its long-standing chairperson, Timo Soini, on 10 June. In addition to Terho and Halla-aho, Leena Meri, a first-term Member of the Parliament from Hyvinkää, and Veera Ruoho, a first-term Member of the Parliament from Espoo, have thrown their hats into the leadership ring.

The election, however, is widely expected to be a two-horse race between Terho and Halla-aho, with the former enjoying the support of the current party leadership and the latter that of the rank and file of the party.

Soini announced his decision not to seek re-election in March.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Kalle Parkkinen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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