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Dublin: 15 °C Friday 19 September, 2014

Finnish election results could mean veto for Portugal’s bailout

Finland’s voters throw support behind the nationalist True Finns party, which has pledged to veto any further bailouts.

Timo Soini of the True Finns celebrates with supporters after his party recorded massive gains in the country's parliamentary elections.
Timo Soini of the True Finns celebrates with supporters after his party recorded massive gains in the country's parliamentary elections.
Image: Martti Kainulainen/AP/Press Association Images

A FINNISH EUROSCEPTIC party that opposed immigration, the Euro, and bailouts for struggling European countries has won a fifth of votes in the country’s general election.

The True Finns party is completely against plans to rescue any struggling country, which could spell trouble for Portugal, which has made a request for financial assistance.

Finland has the power to veto a eurozone bailout package, and with a coalition in the pipeline for the government there, it is likely the True Finns will be invited for talks.

The True Finns saw an almost five-fold increase in support since Finland’s last election, coming third behind the established conservative National Coalition Party and the opposition Social Democrats.

The outcome means conservative leader Jyrki Katainen may have to invite both opposition parties to talks, raising questions about Finland’s support for rescue packages that need unanimous approval in the 17-member eurozone.

Katainen says that “solutions will always be found”, while True Finns leader Timo Soini has conceded that coalition talks “could be quite difficult”.

Soini added, however, that politics was about “making compromises” and said coalition talks would have to take place before any decisions could be made on Finland’s support for any further bailouts.

The True Finns attracted the support of many voters with its pledge to veto any reforms to the current European bailout mechanisms that would require Finland to increase its financial contributions.

The party’s significant gains see its share of seats in the 200-member Eduskunta jump from 6 to 39.

The Social Democrats, too, are opposed to increasing Finland’s financial responsibilities to the rest of the Eurozone.

Additional reporting by AP

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