Finland’s conservative leader Petteri Orpo, who won the country’s April general election, on Thursday said he plans to form a coalition government that includes the far-right runner-up Finns Party.
“The official government negotiations …will begin on the second of May in the House of the Estates between the (conservative) National Coalition Party, the Finns Party, the Swedish People’s Party and the Christian Democrats,” Orpo, the leader of the National Coalition, told reporters.
If Orpo succeeds in drafting a government programme supported by all four parties, the coalition would secure a majority of 108 seats out of 200 in parliament.
The negotiations, which typically take around a month, are expected to be difficult, as the Finns Party’s hard line on immigration and scepticism towards Finland’s climate targets has caused friction among the right-wing parties.
“There are of course differences between the parties. But following (preliminary) negotiations we collectively feel that the issues can be resolved,” Orpo said.
The Finns Party served in a centre-right government with the National Coalition from 2015 to 2017 but that collaboration ended when the Finns Party split into two groups – a moderate and a hard-line faction.
In the April elections, the incumbent Social Democrats fell to third place with 43 seats, behind the National Coalition with 48 seats and the far-right with 46.