Friday 9/17/21
POLITICS

Purra debuts as leader of True Finns with anti-immigration message

The five leaders of the parties that make up the Finnish government congratulated the new head of Perussuomalaiset on her election
The new leader of the Perussuomalaiset, Riikka Purra (L), speaking in parliament. Photo: Hanne Salonen/Eduskunta/File Photo.
The new leader of the Perussuomalaiset, Riikka Purra (L), speaking in parliament. Photo: Hanne Salonen/Eduskunta/File Photo.

Riikka Purra is the new leader of the True Finns party (Perussuomalaiset) replacing Jussi Halla-aho.

Purra, a Member of Parliament from Kirkkonummi, was the favourite of the former leader of the right-wing populist party. She was elected on Saturday after collecting 774 (more than 59%) of the 1,302 votes cast at the party's congress held in Seinäjoki.

The second place (252 votes) went to Tampere MP Sakari Puisto and the third place was for Lohja Councilor Ossi Tiihonen.

Purra takes command of the party at a sweet time for the right-wing populist group, with the party enjoying high popular support and polls saying the 'Persut' have many options to enter a future right-wing coalition government following the 2023 elections.

On Saturday, in her victory speech, she said loud and clear where the red line is for her: The Perussuomalaiset will not become part of any government that is unwilling to toughen immigration laws.

This is a message to the also right-wing National Coalition Party (Kokoomus), which this summer already winked at the most extreme wing of its electorate with a controversial proposal - later withdrawn - to limit the access of non-ethnic Finns to certain social rights.

Congratulated by the government

"If a party is not ready to tighten immigration policy, then that's game over and we don't have a possibility of co-operating," Purra warned the leaders of Kokoomus on Saturday.

Despite being in different ideological universes, the five leaders of the parties that make up the government coalition government led by the social democrat Sanna Marin congratulated Riikka Purra on her election.

Congratulations came from Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP), Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo (Green Party), Education Minister Li Andersson (Left Alliance), Justice Minister Anna-Maija Henriksson (Swedish People's Party) and Finance Minister Annika Saarikko (Center Party).

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