It became clear in the afternoon that Halla-aho’s first day as the new chairman of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) ended with Center Party Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and National Coalition Party (NCP) chairperson Petteri Orpo showing the new chairperson the door.
Even if there was a question mark on Sunday if Prime Minister Sipilä and Orpo would continue to cooperate with the new chairperson of the PS, it became clear on Monday that such cooperation was impossible.
The trust that existed between the government and former PS chairperson Timo Soini had evaporated after Halla-aho’s election as chair of the PS.
Going to bed with Halla-aho would have been a roller-coaster ride that would have ended sooner or later.
A Somali who has lived in Finland as a child summed up what she thought about the “new” PS.
“[Timo] Soini’s departure from the PS clears up a lot of things,” said Nawal Mohamud of Helsinki. “For one, the party now shows its true colors and their attitude towards immigrants. Few Finns can say after Sunday that the PS isn’t a racist party.”
Juha Sipilä and Pettters Orpo announced in identical tweets that cooperation with the PS was over. “Talks are over. Our proposal to the parliamentary groups of the Center Party/National Coalition Party: there aren’t any conditions to continue cooperation with Halla-aho’s led PS.”
Some Finns have expressed fear that by excluding the PS from government will help prop up support for Halla-aho and his far right policies.
There are many reasons why an implosion of the PS is more likely. The new chairperson, for example, is no Timo Soini and lacks charisma. His persona is dry and polarizes as opposed to unites. More importantly Finland has learned some painful lessons about how to challenge the rise of a populist party like the PS.
One of the lessons is that you cannot play ball and flirt with such parties because you will lose big time.
The only way Europe will be able to drive home its cherished rights, which are founded on human rights, is by challenging far-right parties head on.
We’ve seen some hopeful examples of the latter in France with Emmanuel Macron. Recent elections in Austria, Holland, Finland and France have reinforced such a trend.
Halla-aho’s exit from Prime Minister Sipilä’s government is another example.
* The official translation to Finnish of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party is the Finns Party. In our opinion, it is not only a horrible translation, but one that is misguided. A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Such terms like the Finns Party of True Finns promote as well in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and thereafter the acronym PS.