Finland’s populist party has cracked in two

WHATEVER their faults, Finland’s politicians cannot be accused of sluggishness: the biggest Finnish political crisis in years has been wrapped up in just four days. The selection on June 10th of a new far-right leader, Jussi Halla-aho, by the populist Finns Party (formerly known in English as the True Finns, a more accurate translation of its Finnish name) threw the party into turmoil, and ended up splitting it down the middle. On June 13th 20 MPs, about half of the party’s total, announced they had formed a new faction in parliament. The group calls itself the New Alternative, and includes the Finns Party’s previous head, Timo Soini, and most of its senior leadership. The affair will have little impact on the governing coalition, of which the Finns Party had been a member. Yet it may affect the debate over how Europe’s mainstream parties cope with its new populist ones.

The cracks in the Finns Party started to appear in March, when Mr Soini, who helped found it and has…Continue reading

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