PM Juha Sipila seeks to break up government after junior partner the True Finns picks anti-immigration MEP
Finlands prime minister, Juha Sipila, has moved to break up the countrys three-party coalition government after a junior partner, the nationalist True Finns party, elected an anti-immigration hardliner as its new leader.
The True Finns, the second-biggest party in the coalition, had over the weekend picked MEP Jussi Halla-aho as its new leader, a move set to take the moderately nationalist party closer towards radical right-wing populism.
Reacting to the news, Sipila, of the liberal Centre party, wrote on Twitter: Discussions are over. Our proposal: There are is no basis for continuing cooperation with Finns party. The comment was echoed by the finance minister, Petteri Orpo, leader of the third coalition partner, the pro-EU National Coalition party.
Halla-aho, who argues Finland would be better off outside the European Union, was in 2012 fined 400 by the countrys supreme court for disturbing religious worship and ethnic agitation over comments on a blog that linked Islam to paedophilia and Somalis to theft.
Halla-aho has proposed sanctions against organisations that rescue refugees and immigrants from the Mediterranean, saying it encourages movement from Africa to Europe.
A September 2011 Facebook post in which Halla-aho wrote that Greeces debt problems could not be solved without a military junta led to a temporary suspension from his party, then fronted by Timo Soini.
Sipila is to announce later on Monday the fate of his centre-right majority government, which took office in May 2015.
Since snap elections are relatively unusual in Scandinavian countries, the Centre party is expected to form a new coalition government in which two smaller parties the Christian Democrats and the Swedish Peoples party replace the True Finns. Both parties have said they are ready to negotiate.
Without the True Finns, the Centre and National Coalition parties together hold just 86 of the Finnish parliaments 200 seats an unusually weak administration in a country historically run by coalition governments with strong majorities.
Adding the Christian Democrats and Swedish Peoples party could give the remaining coalition government a slim majority of 101 seats.
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