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Finnish parliament backs conservative Petteri Orpo as PM

AFP | | Posted by Sreelakshmi B
Jun 20, 2023 03:06 PM IST

Parliament voted in favour of Orpo, who won the April elections and has been in thorny negotiations to build a coalition since then.

Finland's parliament on Tuesday elected conservative Petteri Orpo as prime minister at the head of a four-party coalition including the far-right Finns Party which plans a major crackdown on immigration.

Finland's National Coalition Party Chair Petteri Orpo holds his press conference at the Finnish Parliament after the parliament elected him as the new prime minister, in Helsinki, Finland.(REUTERS)

Parliament voted in favour of Orpo, who won April elections and has been in thorny negotiations to build a coalition since then, by 107 in favour, 81 opposed and 11 absent.

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Orpo was to be formally appointed as prime minister later Tuesday by President Sauli Niinisto, taking over from Sanna Marin, whose Social Democrats finished third in the election behind Orpo's National Coalition Party (NCP) and the Finns Party.

In addition to the NCP and the Finns Party, the new coalition is made up of the smaller Swedish People's Party (RKP) and the Christian Democrats.

READ | Finland's right-wing party claims big win, PM Marin concedes defeat in elections

Orpo campaigned on an austerity ticket, vowing to cut spending by six billion euros over four years.

The new coalition presented last week also announced a "paradigm shift" on immigration.

It said it aimed to halve the number of refugees the Nordic country receives through the UN refugee agency from 1,050 a year to 500.

It also aims to establish separate social security benefit systems for immigrants and permanent residents, which experts say could violate the constitution.

Conditions for obtaining permanent residency and citizenship will also be tightened, Finns Party leader Riikka Purra added.

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