The Finns Party has a realistic chance of becoming the largest party in the next parliamentary elections, says Jussi Halla-aho, the chairperson of the opposition party.
Jussi Halla-aho, the chairperson of the Finns Party, has shrugged off concerns about the results of recent polls by stating that the nationalist opposition party will aim to become the largest party in the Finnish Parliament in 2019.
“It’s a completely realistic objective,” he states in an interview with Uusi Suomi.
Both YLE and Helsingin Sanomat published the results of their latest opinion polls earlier this week. The Finns Party was the only opposition party to record a decrease in voter support – from 9.7 to 8.1 per cent – in the poll commissioned by YLE . Helsingin Sanomat, in turn, wrote that support for the opposition party has plummeted to 6.3 per cent, roughly a third of its vote share in the parliamentary elections of 2015.
“Finns Party seems to be as supported as it was before the defection from the parliamentary group. We’ve coped well with the crisis in that sense and we’ll now start our rise,” he comments, referring to the 20 legislators who who left the group to establish the New Alternative Parliamentary Group in mid-June.
Halla-aho reminds that opinion polls yielded similar results two years before the parliamentary elections of 2011, which marked the political breakthrough of the Finns Party.
The New Alternative, however, is even less popular among voters, according to both polls. The splinter group was the choice of 2.5 per cent of the voterspolled by Helsingin Sanomat and only 0.7 per cent of the voters polled by YLE.
“The New Alternative is currently about as supported as the Communist Party of Finland, which of course is quite expected given that the motives of the defection are obvious to everyone,” comments Halla-aho.
Halla-aho also told Uusi Suomi that the Finns Party is likely to nominate its own candidate for the presidential elections of 2018.
“Both our members and supporters are very disappointed with how [President] Sauli Niinistö interfered in the internal affairs of the Finns Party […] by offering advice on the principles by which the Finns Party can make its own ministerial nominations,” he says to Uusi Suomi. “Niinistö received no support at all and we have a few hundred district organisations. So the message was very clear.”
Halla-aho’s emergence to the helm of what at the time was one of the three ruling parties prompted the president to remind that the president has traditionally been invited to comment on the nominees to take the portfolio of the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva
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