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Finland said Tuesday it was temporarily closing its only remaining open border crossing with Russia to stem an influx of asylum seekers that it accuses Moscow of orchestrating in retaliation for Finland’s decision to join NATO. The Finnish authorities have been raising alarms for weeks over an increased number of migrants crossing into the country to seek asylum, describing it as a Kremlin bid to sow discord. They had already closed seven of the eight crossings along Finland’s vast frontier with Russia, leaving just the Raja-Jooseppi checkpoint in hard-to-reach northern Lapland, above the Arctic Circle, open to travelers. “The government’s goal is that the exceptional situation on Finland’s eastern border is normalized as soon as possible,” he said at a news conference. “The activity witnessed on Finland’s border must end.”
Persons: Petteri Orpo, Jooseppi, Organizations: NATO, Kremlin Locations: Finland, Russia, Moscow, Lapland
[1/4] A view of closed gates at the Raja-Jooseppi international border crossing station before its opening in Inari, northern Finland on November 24, 2023. Finland last week shut all but one of its border posts to travellers from Russia, keeping open only the northernmost crossing located in the Arctic. On Monday he said his country had intelligence information on Russian authorities assisting the asylum seekers and that despite Finnish border closures, there were still more people heading towards Finland in Russia. On Monday, only three asylum seekers arrived in Finland through the remote Raja-Jooseppi station, the last open border post, and on Tuesday there were no entrants. The border station will remain open on Wednesday before closing until Dec. 13, the government said.
Persons: Korhonen, Petteri Orpo, Essi Lehto, Terje Solsvik, Anna Ringstrom, Louise Rasmussen, Alexandra Hudson Organizations: REUTERS, Rights, Nordic, Finnish Border Guard, Finland's Border Guard, Kremlin, NATO, Alexandra Hudson Our, Thomson Locations: Inari, Finland, Russia, Moscow, Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Helsinki, United States, Ukraine
CNN —Finland will close the last operating checkpoint on its Russian border on Thursday, entirely shutting off the NATO country’s eastern border with Russia for two weeks. In Tuesday’s press release, Finland’s interior ministry said entry into Finland at the eastern border has continued despite restrictions. “Since the beginning of August, almost 1,000 third-country nationals have arrived in Finland without a visa via the border crossing points at the eastern border. He welcomed the move by the European Union’s border agency, Frontex, to deploy 50 guards along the Finnish border. Earlier this year, the Finnish Border Guard also began the pilot phase of constructing an eastern border barrier fence along some key parts of the border.
Persons: Petteri Orpo, Mari Rantanen, Alexander Grushko, , Grushko, , Jens Stoltenberg, ” Stoltenberg, Stoltenberg, Vladimir Putin’s “ Organizations: CNN, NATO, Finland’s Ministry, Internal Affairs, Finland’s, Finnish Border Guard, Government Locations: Finland, Russia, Helsinki, Ukraine, , Russian, ​ Moscow, , Finnish, Brussels, European
Finnish officials accused Russia of purposefully sending hundreds of asylum seekers to the Finland. AdvertisementAs waves of asylum seekers surge toward Finland amid freezing temperatures, the country has decided to shut down its border with Russia. The crisis that has been emerging, Finnish officials say, is one that was artificially created by Russia intentionally sending migrants to the Finnish border. "Russia is enabling the instrumentalisation of people and guiding them to the Finnish border in harsh winter conditions. NATO's newest member has highlighted Moscow's involvement, accusing Russian border guards of escorting migrants to the border themselves.
Persons: , Dmitri Peskov, Petteri Orpo, Mari Rantanen, JUSSI NUKARI, Alexander Lukashenko Organizations: Belarus, Service, NATO, Helsinki, Institute for, European Union, Rights Watch Locations: Finland, Russia, Poland, Moscow, Belarus, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Salla, Finnish Lapland, Washington, DC, Russia's
[1/2] Finnish Border Guards escort migrants arriving at the Raja-Jooseppi international border crossing station in Inari, Finland, November 25, 2023. Some 900 asylum seekers from nations including Afghanistan, Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen have entered Finland from Russia in November, an increase from less than one per day previously, according to the Finnish Border Guard. Finland blames a change in Russian border protocol for the increase and calls this a hybrid attack. Finland infuriated Russia when it joined NATO in April, ending decades of military non-alignment, due to the war in Ukraine. If this continues, more measures will be announced in the near future," Prime Minister Petteri Orpo told a press conference.
Persons: Korhonen, Petteri Orpo, Ulf Kristersson, Orpo, Jens Stoltenberg, " Stoltenberg, Anne Kauranen, Anna Ringstrom, Andrew Gray, Louise Rasmussen, Terje Solsvik, Alison Williams Organizations: Finnish Border Guards, REUTERS Acquire, Rights, Finnish Border Guard, Kremlin, NATO, Border Guard, Swedish, Frontex, Monday, European Union, Thomson Locations: Inari, Finland, Russia, Moscow, Afghanistan, Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, United States, Ukraine, Sweden, EU, Brussels, Finland's, NATO, East, Africa, Belarus, Poland, Minsk, Helsinki, Stockholm
Now, hundreds of migrants from the Middle East and Africa have appeared at Finland's border from Russia, seeking entry into the Nordic country. They accuse Russia of driving the migrants to the border to sow discord as payback for Finland's membership in NATO. Finnish authorities quickly closed four checkpoints and then three more, leaving just one Arctic crossing point open for asylum-seekers. Finland also asked for help from EU border agency Frontex, which said it would send dozens of officers and equipment as reinforcements to the Finnish border. The Kremlin denies encouraging the migrants, and says it regrets the Finnish border closures.
Persons: Elina Valtonen, Petteri Orpo, Maria Zakharova, Valtonen, Russia’s, , Klaus Dodds, ” Dodds, Ylva Johansson, Sauli Niinistö, Alexander Lukashenko, Evika Siliņa, Siliņa, Lukashenko, Vladimir Putin, , Geert Wilders, Orpo’s, Vanessa Gera Organizations: HELSINKI, , NATO, Nordic, Associated Press, HOW, EU, Frontex, Russian Foreign Ministry, Royal Holloway, University of London, VU EU Home Affairs, Belarus —, Latvian, AP, Poland’s, Guard Locations: Finland, Russia, East, Africa, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Finnish, FINLAND, Helsinki, Belarus, Europe, Moscow, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Baltic, Netherlands, Finns, Lapland, Murmansk, Warsaw
Finland is closing all but one of its land border crossings with Russia, escalating a standoff between the two countries over an influx of migrants that Finnish officials blame on Moscow. Starting on Friday, only the Raja-Jooseppi crossing in northern Lapland will stay open to travelers, while all seven other land crossings will be closed. Last week, Finland closed four of the entry points. “Unfortunately, that did not manage to stop this phenomenon,” the Finnish prime minister, Petteri Orpo, said at a news conference on Wednesday night, adding that the situation at the border was deteriorating amid signs that the Russian authorities were helping asylum seekers make their way to the country. “We do not accept such activity,” he said, adding that Finland would take further measures if necessary.
Persons: Petteri Orpo, Locations: Finland, Russia, Moscow, Lapland
"The government has today decided to close more border stations," Orpo told a press conference. Finland said Russia was letting migrants through those two crossing points by foot despite an agreement that they could only be crossed by car. "There are growing signs that the situation is worsening on the eastern border," Orpo said. Finland will shut three of the four remaining border crossing points from midnight on Friday, leaving only the Raja-Jooseppi crossing in the Arctic open. "Raja-Jooseppi is the northernmost (border crossing) and it requires a real effort to get there," Orpo said.
Persons: Petteri Orpo, Orpo, Ylva Johansson, Sauli Niinisto, Moscow's, Essi Lehto, Jacob Gronholt, Pedersen, Alexandra Hudson, Christina Fincher, Mark Heinrich Our Organizations: Nordic, European Union, Kremlin, Finland, Russia, Thomson Locations: HELSINKI, Finland, Russia, Helsinki, Moscow, Yemen, Afghanistan, Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, EU, Estonia, Baltic, Finnish, Vartius, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, East, Africa
Russia is sending asylum seekers to Finland, creating a migrant crisis on the border, Finnish authorities say. Finland has already closed several border checkpoints and is considering shutting down its entire Russian border. AdvertisementRussia is creating a migrant crisis at Finland's borders, apparently sending hundreds of asylum seekers to the country. Finland has blamed Russia for artificially creating the migrant crisis, with Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo saying last week that Russian border guards were escorting migrants to the border themselves. Finnish border guards escort migrants with bicycles at the international border crossing with Russia at Salla, Finnish Lapland on November 21, 2023.
Persons: , Dmitri Peskov, Petteri Orpo, JUSSI NUKARI, it's, Alexander Lukashenko Organizations: Service, NATO, Twitter, Business, Finnish, Russian, Getty, Kremlin, The Institute, Washington DC, European Union, Watch Locations: Russia, Finland, Belarus, Poland, Finland's, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Russian, Salla, Finnish Lapland, AFP, Washington, Russia's, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland's
Finland has accused Russia of sending undocumented migrants across the border. It says 300 migrants have arrived at the border with the help of Russian officials. AdvertisementA vengeful Russia is attempting to stoke a migrant crisis in Finland by sending hundreds of asylum across the border on bicycles and scooters, authorities in Helsinki say. Finnish officials also said that Russia has been giving out bicycles and scooters to migrants because people are banned from walking between the Russian and Finnish border checkpoints, according to The Telegraph. Finland has an 830-mile-long border with Russia, forming the easternmost boundary of the European Union.
Persons: , Petteri Orpo, Orpo, Sauli Niinistö, Dmitry Peskov, It's, Alexander Lukashenko Organizations: Experts, Russia, NATO, Service, Reuters, The Telegraph, Kremlin, European Union Locations: Finland, Russia, stoke, Helsinki, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, United States, Europe, Belarus, Russian, Poland
Finland's President Sauli Niinisto addresses the 78th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 20, 2023. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs/File Photo Acquire Licensing RightsHELSINKI, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Finland said on Monday it had become impossible to return asylum seekers who did not meet the criteria for protection and said that it might further restrict migrant entries from Russia following a jump in the number of applicants. Over 500 asylum seekers, mostly from Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Iraq, arrived in Finland - an eastern outpost of the European Union - via Russia in the past two weeks, prompting Helsinki to shut half its border crossings and accuse Moscow of funnelling migrants to its border. Migrants entering Finland from Russia can now only request asylum at two of the remaining four crossing points on their shared 1,340-km (830-mile) border. The Kremlin said on Monday it had lodged a formal protest over the partial border closure, saying the decision reflected an anti-Russian stance.
Persons: Sauli Niinisto, Caitlin Ochs, Niinisto, Petteri Orpo, Orpo, Tomi Kivenjuuri, Kivenjuuri, Moscow's, Essi Lehto, Terje Solsvik, Anna Ringstrom, Jonathan Oatis, Gareth Jones Organizations: United Nations General Assembly, REUTERS, Rights, European, Migrants, Finnish Border Guard, Reuters, Thomson Locations: U.N, New York, U.S, Finland, Russia, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Helsinki, Moscow, Poland, EU, Finnish, Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, East, Africa, Oslo, Stockholm
A car is seen at the border between Russia and Finland at the Nuijamaa border checkpoint in Lappeenranta, Finland, November 16, 2023. Lehtikuva/Vesa Moilanen via REUTERS Acquire Licensing RightsHELSINKI, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Finland will close four of the nine crossing points on its border with Russia to stem a flow of asylum seekers to the Nordic nation, Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said on Thursday. The Finnish president on Wednesday said a rise in the number of asylum applicants arriving on the country's eastern border appeared to be triggered by Russian revenge for Finland's defence cooperation with the United States. "The government has today decided that Finland will close some eastern border crossing points. The eastern border for that part will close on the night between Friday and Saturday," Orpo told a press conference.
Persons: Moilanen, Petteri Orpo, Orpo, Essi Lehto, Terje Solsvik Organizations: REUTERS Acquire, Rights, Nordic, Thomson Locations: Russia, Finland, Lappeenranta, United States
Finland said on Thursday that it was closing part of its border with Russia after a dramatic increase in migrant crossings that it blamed on Moscow, the latest sign of deteriorating relations between the neighbors since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The announcement followed days of warnings from the authorities in Finland over an increase in crossings, which President Sauli Niinisto of Finland on Wednesday suggested was retaliation from Moscow for Finland’s decision to join NATO. Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said at a news conference on Thursday that Finland was closing four crossings on its eastern border starting at midnight on Friday. The government wanted to “react strongly,” he said, to what it viewed as “organized activity” by Russia. “Therefore we have been prepared for various action from Russia, nastiness, and this situation does not come to us as a surprise.”
Persons: Sauli Niinisto, Petteri Orpo, Organizations: NATO Locations: Finland, Russia, Moscow, Ukraine, “ Finland
The Balticconnector gas pipeline was shut early on Sunday on concerns that gas was leaking from a hole in the 77-km (48-mile) pipeline. Finnish operator Gasgrid said it could take months or more to repair. "It is likely that damage to both the gas pipeline and the communication cable is the result of outside activity. The damage to the gas pipeline was believed to have taken place in Finnish waters, while the telecoms cable breach was in Estonian waters, Finnish authorities said. Prices were already up on Tuesday due to fears over tensions in the Middle East but expectations that outside activity caused the pipeline damage pushed prices in the nervous market higher.
Persons: Jens Stoltenberg, Gasgrid, Sauli Niinisto, Petteri Orpo, Orpo, Elisa, Timo Kilpelainen, Terje Solsvik, Anne Kauranen, Anna Ringstrom, Andrius, Marta Frackowiak, Louise Rasmussen, Susanna Twidale, Julia Payne, Bart Meijer, Gwladys Fouche, Susan Fenton, Jonathan Oatis Organizations: Finnish Border Guard, Companies Gas, PM, NATO, Reuters, Finnish, Amber Grid, Thomson Locations: of Finland, Estonian, Finland, Estonia, HELSINKI, Baltic, Finnish, Inkoo, Paldiski, St Petersburg, NORD, Russia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Lithuanian, Ukraine, United States, Latvian, Hamina, Oslo, Helsinki, Stockholm, Andrius Sytas, Vilnius, Gdansk, Copenhagen, London, Brussels
Finland's Prime Minister Petteri Orpo attends a summit between European Union leaders and leaders of the CELAC group of Latin American and Caribbean states, in Brussels, Belgium July 18, 2023. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/File Photo Acquire Licensing RightsHELSINKI, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Finland's government, beset by racism controversies since taking office in June, has agreed on a common policy to combat intolerance, party leaders said late on Wednesday, preventing a collapse of the four-party, right-wing coalition. Prime Minister Petteri Orpo, whose conservative National Coalition Party (NCP) narrowly won Finland's April election, said the government on Thursday will present its unified policy on how to tackle racism, following a cabinet meeting. SPP leader Anna-Maja Henriksson said she and her party had endorsed the new policy. Reporting by Anne Kauranen, editing by Terje Solsvik, Robert BirselOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Persons: Petteri Orpo, Johanna Geron, Vilhelm Junnila, Riikka Purra, Anna, Maja Henriksson, Henriksson, Anne Kauranen, Terje Solsvik, Robert Birsel Organizations: Finland's, Union, REUTERS, Rights, Finns Party, Finns, National Coalition Party, NCP, Swedish People's Party, Swedish, Twitter, Thomson Locations: Caribbean, Brussels, Belgium
Former Finnish PM Alexander Stubb to run for president
  + stars: | 2023-08-16 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
Former Prime Minister of Finland Alexander Stubb at the EPP congress in Helsinki, November 7, 2018. Lehtikuva/Jussi Nukari via REUTERS/File Photo Acquire Licensing RightsHELSINKI, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb said on Wednesday that he will be a candidate in Finland's presidential election due in January of 2024. His announcement came after incumbent premier Petteri Orpo on Sunday asked Stubb to become the National Coalition party's candidate. "In this geopolitical situation the answer is unequivocal: when the fatherland calls, then we go," Stubb told reporters. Stubb, currently a professor and director of the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, held several ministerial posts before serving as prime minister between 2014 and 2015.
Persons: Finland Alexander Stubb, Lehtikuva, Jussi Nukari, Alexander Stubb, Petteri Orpo, Stubb, Pekka Haavisto, Mika Aaltola, Olli Rehn, Anne Kauranen, Terje Solsvik Organizations: EPP, REUTERS, Rights, National Coalition, European University Institute, Bank of Finland, Thomson Locations: Finland, Helsinki, Finnish, Florence, Italy
Far-right parties are propping up coalitions in Finland and Sweden. Afraid of losing voters to UKIP (and other far-right parties), the governing Conservatives ended up adopting many of its positions. Chesnot/Getty Images Europe/Getty ImagesConversely, far-right parties have attempted to sanitize some of their rhetoric, hoping to appear a more credible electoral prospect. Leon Neal/Getty ImagesA different type of populismAnd so the recent successes of far-right parties cannot be explained by dramatic shifts in public opinion. A lot depends on the ability of mainstream parties – particularly on the left – to build tents big enough to accommodate their differences, rather than compromising with far-right parties to prop up their coalitions.
Persons: Donald Trump, , Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel’s, Mario Draghi, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Viktor Orban, Andrej Babis, Czech Michael Bloomberg, Czech Donald Trump, Meloni, Mussolini, Nigel Farage, Jack Taylor, Farage, Jean, Marie Le Pen, Marine, Lionel Jospin, Jacques Chirac, Petteri Orpo, Sanna Marin, Vilhelm Junnila, Ulif Kristersson, Mark Rutte’s, Pen, Chesnot, Philippe Marlier, ” Le, Matteo Salvini, Vladimir Putin, Tino Chrupalla, Alice Weidel, Thomas Lohnes, Omer Messinger, Larry Bartels, Boris Johnson, Leon Neal, Giorgia Meloni, Odd Andersen, Orban, Kaczynski, Rutte’s, Pedro Sanchez Organizations: CNN, White, Channel, European Central Bank, Italy’s, Vox, UK Independence Party, UKIP, European Union, EU, Conservatives, National, Socialist, Socialists, Finns Party, Swedish, Sweden Democrats, Rassemblement National, University College London, Lega, Ukraine, Russia, Former British, Italy's, NATO, Getty, Spain’s Locations: United Kingdom, United States, Europe, Brussels, Spain, Poland, Hungary, Germany, Czech, France, Finland, Sweden, Austria, European, Netherlands, Russian, Oxfordshire, Vilnius
CNN —Finnish finance minister Riikka Purra has apologized after she made racist comments in 2008 that were recently discovered online. The leader of the far-right Finns Party said her old comments were “stupid” and that she was sorry for the harm they had caused. Purra’s Finns Party won second place in April’s elections, finishing behind Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo’s National Coalition Party, before forming a coalition. Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said his government was committed to combating racism. “Our immigration policy is legitimate and legal and there is nothing wrong or suspicious about it,” Purra added on Twitter.
Persons: Riikka Purra, , ” Purra, , Petteri, Orpo, Petteri Orpo, Ksenia Kuleshova, ” Orpo, Purra Organizations: CNN, Finns Party, Purra’s Finns Party, Finnish, National Coalition Party, Bloomberg, Getty, Swedish People’s Party, Christian, Twitter Locations: Spain, Finnish, Finland, Nordic
[1/2] National Coalition Party chair PM-designate Petteri Orpo speaks to the media, on the day of a press conference, where the four-party cabinet released the details of the governing agenda, in Helsinki, Finland, June 16, 2023. Lehtikuva/Kimmo Penttinen via REUTERSHELSINKI, June 20 (Reuters) - Finland's newly elected parliament on Tuesday voted in favour of National Coalition Party leader Petteri Orpo to become prime minister, as widely expected, ushering in a right-wing government and ending Social Democrat Sanna Marin's rule. The new finance minister will be Riikka Purra, head of the eurosceptic Finns Party, while the NCP's deputy leader Elina Valtonen will become foreign minister when the government takes office later on Tuesday. "I warmly thank you for the confidence you've shown me," Orpo told parliament shortly after the vote. A self-styled fiscal conservative, Orpo campaigned on a promise to reduce the government's budget deficit by cutting spending while also reducing taxes and seeking to boost private sector job creation.
Persons: Petteri Orpo, Penttinen, Sanna, Elina Valtonen, Orpo, Essi Lehto, Terje Solsvik Organizations: National Coalition Party, REUTERS, NCP, Finns, Swedish People's Party, Christian Democrats, eurosceptic Finns Party, Finns Party, Thomson Locations: Helsinki, Finland, REUTERS HELSINKI
Finland’s main conservative party announced a new coalition government on Friday after weeks of negotiations, in a deal that moves the country firmly to the right and follows a pattern of similar political shifts elsewhere in Europe. Petteri Orpo, leader of the center-right National Coalition Party, would become prime minister under the coalition, which includes the right-wing nationalist Finns Party. “Finland needs change,” Mr. Orpo said at a news conference on Friday. “Our prosperity is hanging in the balance.”Assuming the coalition is approved when lawmakers vote on the prime minister in Parliament, probably next week, it will leave in opposition the more liberal Social Democratic Party led by the former prime minister Sanna Marin, who became a political rock star during her tenure. The new government is expected to introduce an era of financial belt-tightening and stricter immigration policies.
Persons: Petteri Orpo, Mr, Orpo, Sanna Marin Organizations: National Coalition Party, Finns Party, Social Democratic Party Locations: Europe, Finland
Marin entered office as the world's youngest serving prime minister in 2019 at the age of 34. Marin entered office as the world's youngest serving prime minister in 2019 at the age of 34. However, after just one term as prime minister, Marin was pushed into third place by her right-wing political rivals. "Congratulations also to the other winners of the elections, congratulations to the Coalition Party and congratulations to the Finns Party. However, Finland's main conservative National Coalition Party, led by Petteri Orpo, came out on top with 20.8% of the vote, while the right-wing Finns Party received a record 20.1% share of the vote.
[1/3] Finland's Prime Minister and Social Democrats leader Sanna Marin speaks during a news conference at the parliament on the day of the parliamentary elections, in Helsinki, Finland April 2, 2023. REUTERS/Essi LehtoHELSINKI, April 3 (Reuters) - Outgoing Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin was left to consider her future after she conceded defeat in a tight parliamentary election on Sunday that handed her centre-right rival Petteri Orpo the right to try and form a coalition. Despite gaining three seats, Marin's left wing Social Democratic Party (SDP) came third with 43 of parliament's 200 seats behind Orpo's centre-right National Coalition Party with 48 seats and the nationalist Finns on 46. In turn, Marin's Social Democrats rallied voters to support them in their defence of the Nordic welfare model of cradle-to-grave services from free education and affordable healthcare to decent pensions, against Orpo's spending cuts. During Marin's time as prime minister, Finland faced coronavirus lockdowns, the energy crisis and soaring consumer price inflation, and the country is expected to undergo a mild recession this year.
Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin suffered defeat in Sunday’s general election, days before the country was set to enter NATO, after a campaign dominated by the economic and security aftershocks of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Petteri Orpo , the leader of the center-right National Coalition Party, claimed election victory and was projected to gain about 20.8% with nearly all the votes counted. Ms. Marin’s Social Democratic Party came third with 19.9% of the vote, narrowly behind the right-wing populist Finns Party gaining 20%, in its best result to date.
Factbox: Petteri Orpo, Finland's likely next prime minister
  + stars: | 2023-04-02 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
HELSINKI, April 2 (Reuters) - Here is a profile of Finland's conservative National Coalition Party leader Petteri Orpo, who said he would have the first chance of forming a coalition government after his party looked set to win the most seats in parliament in Sunday's election. FISCAL CONSERVATIVEBorn in 1969 in rural south-west Finland, the 53-year-old Orpo has a university degree in political science. He has been a member of parliament since 2007 and became head of the National Coalition in 2016 after challenging his predecessor Alexander Stubb, a former prime minister, for the party leadership. Considered a moderate and a smooth negotiator, Orpo has held several government posts, including as minister of agriculture and forestry from 2014 to 2015, interior minister from 2015 to 2016 and finance minister from 2016 to 2019. Married and with two children, he is also a reserve officer in Finland's national defence force.
HELSINKI, April 2 (Reuters) - Finland's right-wing opposition National Coalition Party leader Petteri Orpo on Sunday claimed victory in the Nordic country's tightly-fought parliamentary election. "We got the biggest mandate," Orpo said in a speech to followers. With 93.4% of the votes counted, his party looked set to get the most seats in parliament, 48 out of 200 in total, and with 20.5% support among votes cast, justice ministry election data showed. Reporting by Anne Kauranen, editing by Terje SolsvikOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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