Riikka Purra delivered her first policy speech as the chairperson of the Finns Party in Seinäjoki on Sunday, 15 August 2021. (Timo Aalto – Lehtikuva)

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RIIKKA PURRA delivered her first policy speech as the chairperson of the Finns Party in Seinäjoki on Sunday.

Purra addressed the party faithful for more than 30 minutes, drawing particular attention to immigration policy as an integral element of the platform of the opposition party and, potentially, as a key issue of future coalition formation negotiations.

“The Finns Party’s policies in recent years haven’t been influenced by a desperate desire to govern, nor will they be in the future,” she was quoted as saying at the party conference by Helsingin Sanomat.

Purra acknowledged that no party should enter into a coalition government with the expectation of fulfilling all of its objectives. The Finns Party’s objectives in the domain of immigration, though, are such that the party should not compromise on them.

“A party that isn’t willing to tighten the immigration policy can’t be in a government with the Finns Party,” she declared.

“We oppose immigration policy that’s harmful to our country,” she added, naming reducing the number of asylum seekers to zero and tightening both the conditions on family re-unifications and the criteria for citizenship among the objectives of the Finns Party.

She expressed her concern with projected changes in the population. Finns, she told, are projected to become a minority in, for example, Espoo in the 2050s. “I’m convinced that most Finns don’t like this development. It’s another matter whether they have the courage to say so out loud,” she stated.

She shed light also on her thoughts on economic policy, castigating the current government for failing to support long-term economic growth with its economic policy, and on issues related to the climate emergency and European Union.

“After a short upswing, we’ll be faced with the same problems.”

She saw lots of similarities between climate and EU policy. She alleged that although actions in neither policy domain are beneficial – but rather harmful – for the country, they will lead to additional costs and undermine the sovereignty of Finland.

She also broached on populism, as she had revealed in advance to Helsingin Sanomat.

“I’m not a fan of the kind of shameless populism that only seeks to gain votes and popularity with different kinds of baseless promises and sleights of hand.”

Purra on Saturday received over a half of the votes cast during the first round of voting in the leadership race, making a second round unnecessary. Her selection was widely anticipated, as speculation about her taking the reins of the party had circulated within the party virtually since her election as deputy chairperson in Tampere in 2019.

Helsingin Sanomat on Saturday described her ascent to the helm of one of the largest political parties in the country as astonishing.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT