Finnish government coalition on verge of collapse

Finland's Prime Minister was to tender his coalition government's resignation on Tuesday after ousting a populist, anti-immigration and eurosceptic party whose new leader has been convicted of hate speech.

Prime Minister Juha Sipila says he could include the New Alternative group created Tuesday when some 20 people, or almost half The Finns' members in Parliament, split from the party.

When asked whether the party would consider joining a government with the newly-formed New Alternative parliamentary group, SPP MP Stefan Wallin said it was hypothetical.

Finland's centrist and conservative party leaders both say the populist The Finns party can not stay in the three-member government coalition after it elected an anti-EU and anti-immigration hardliner as its chairman last week.

"Our joint proposal to the Center/National Coalition Party parliamentary groups: no prerequisites for continuing cooperation with The Finns party led by Jussi Halla-aho".

Participating in the three-party coalition has come at a heavy price for the Finns party.

The two parties have begun looking for a new partner to join the government, although opposition parties have indicated they want early elections.

The group includes all the True Finns cabinet ministers of the current government.

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The government now musters a comfortable majority, holding 124 seats in the 200-seat Parliament.

The five Finns Party members now serving in the government have all joined New Alternative, including Timo Soini, who co-founded the Finns Party in 1995.

Halla-aho was elected chairman of the Finns Party on Saturday.

"This is a very natural and certainly an attractive alternative (for Sipila).That would give the government a clear majority in the parliament, and the current economic and reform program would stay on track", Danske Bank economist Pasi Kuoppamaki said.

Opposition Swedish People's Party chair Anna-Maja Henriksson and MP Stefan Wallin.

The head of the conservative party, Finance Minister Petteri Orpo, had been adamant that the Finns Party under Halla-aho's leadership had to leave the government.

"Liberal democracy and a western conception of man must be defended now".

His star has risen in recent years, in part because of his explicit writings against immigration and Islam.

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