The second week of negotiations to form Finland’s new government got off to a bad start, amid volatile social media spats between members of the four parties in the running for the coalition.
Coalition negotiations are ongoing between the liberal-conservative National Coalition Party (NCP), the nationalistic and populist Finns Party, and two smaller parties, the Swedish People’s Party and the Christian Democrats.
To agree on certain points and form a viable coalition, the Chair of the country’s biggest party NCP and the next Prime Minister, Petteri Orpo, has tried to build a trusting and constructive atmosphere between the parties in numerous working groups.
While all four parties reportedly agreed on cutting public debt by several billion, they are divided on immigration, which has increased tensions.
The Finns Party, for instance, appears to have been inspired by Sweden’s right-wing government, which last week decided to double the income requirement for foreign workers.
However, the three other parties have a more liberal view of immigration and view letting foreign workers enter the country as a means to tackle labour shortages and low fertility rates.
However, members of the Finns Party took their grievances with possible coalition partners to social media.
“Is it really the people’s will that a minority party with just a few per cent support should be allowed to f*ck around and stir the pot in the negotiations during the effort to bring about a government in Finland?” Finns Party MP Mauri Peltokangas wrote on Facebook on Saturday.
Anna-Maja Henriksson, the Swedish People’s Party Chair, responded to the message clearly aimed at her party, calling for greater respect, a set of ground rules and more discussions.
Whether such an incident will repeat itself remains to be seen, though commentators on the left are already wondering whether a blue-red coalition built around the National Coalition Party and the Social Democrats is still possible.
(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)
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