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Thursday 17 August 2017

Immigration hardliner to head Finns Party

Jussi Halla-aho delivers a speech after he was elected to be new chairman of the Finns Party (Jussi Nukari/Lehtikuva via AP)
Jussi Halla-aho delivers a speech after he was elected to be new chairman of the Finns Party (Jussi Nukari/Lehtikuva via AP)

An immigration hardliner has been elected as leader of a eurosceptic group in Finland.

The Finns Party voted in Jussi Halla-aho on Saturday as its chairman to replace Foreign Minister Timo Soini, who stepped down after two 10-year terms as chairman on the country's three-party centre-right government.

Mr Halla-aho, 46 - a member of the European Parliament - was convicted in 2012 for making racist statements.

His stance could mark a change for the Finns, which until now has distanced itself from far-right parties in Europe - something that enabled it to enter the government in 2015.

However, Mr Halla-aho may toughen the party's nationalistic line, spelling trouble for Finland's governing coalition. The two other partners have said there will be no changes in the government programme.

AP

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