Chairpersons Petteri Orpo of the National Coalition (foreground), Riikka Purra of the Finns Party, Anna-Maja Henriksson of the Swedish People’s Party and Sari Essayah of the Christian Democrats held a joint press conference in the Parliament House in Helsinki on Thursday, 27 April 2023. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)


PETTERI ORPO, the chairperson of the National Coalition, has decided to begin coalition formation negotiations with the Finns Party, Swedish People’s Party and Christian Democrats.

“I have a high level of confidence that, with these parties, we can truly achieve these reforms and have a spirit of co-operation, common commitment to solve issues also in difficult, even surprising times,” he stated in the Parliament House on Thursday.

The negotiations over the next government programme are to begin next week.

Orpo estimated that economic policy will be the most challenging item on the agenda, with fiscal adjustment worth six billion euros one of the chief objectives of the National Coalition. Devising the adjustment measures – likely a mix of spending cuts, tax increases and structural reforms – in a way that does not inhibit economic growth and is not unreasonable for anyone will not be an “easy equation,” he conceded.

The Finns Party, meanwhile, stands out from the other three parties with its tougher views on immigration. While the populist right-wing party has called for tougher controls on both humanitarian and work-based immigration, the others are looking to bring more labour from abroad in order to mitigate the labour shortage in Finland.

Riikka Purra, the chairperson of the Finns Party, on Thursday outlined that the party will insist on tightening immigration that “threatens security and the economy”.

“I’m sure that we can find issues in work-based immigration that we can agree on,” she assured.

The Swedish People’s Party is not prepared to compromise on its values, declared chairperson Anna-Maja Henriksson.

“The Swedish People’s Party wants to see a forward-looking, open and equal Finland, and we will not compromise on our values,” she stated in a press release. “Once the outcome of the negotiations is clear, we will decide whether we can approve it and participate in the government.”

The National Coalition, Finns Party, Swedish People’s Party and Christian Democrats hold a total of 108 of the 200 seats in the Finns Parliament. A government comprised of this quartet would be unusual in that it would be only the second majority government in Finnish history that does not include the Centre or Social Democrats, highlighted Teemu Luukka, a political journalist at Helsingin Sanomat.

If the coalition formation negotiations fail to produce an outcome that satisfies all four parties, Orpo will have to try forming a ruling coalition with other parties.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT