Finnish Nationalists Pick Leader Vowing No Deals on Immigration

Finland’s opposition Finns Party picked a new leader who said the anti-immigrant populists won’t sacrifice their controversial policies in order to become more palatable to other politicians.

Riikka Purra, a 44-year-old lawmaker considered the favorite in the race, won by a large margin, securing majority support at a party convention in Seinajoki, western Finland, on Saturday. Incumbent Jussi Halla-Aho didn’t stand for re-election.

Cooperation with parties that won’t agree to tighten the Nordic nation’s immigration policy is unlikely, Purra told YLE broadcaster in a interview after the vote. In fact, Purra said she wants to clarify the Finns’ anti-immigration stance even more.

The euro-skeptic party has faced sliding support since the coronavirus crisis, winning fewer votes in the local elections earlier this year than suggested by polls, though still gaining ground.

The Finns Party was kicked out from the center-right ruling coalition after Halla-aho, a convicted Islamophobe, took over its leadership in 2017, triggering the departure of more moderate members.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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