Timo Soini now finds himself in the role of kingmaker after voters put his True Finns party in third place in Sunday’s general election.
It marks a seismic shift from the fringes of Finnish politics for the eurosceptic, anti-immigration party to the centre of negotiations on who will form the country’s next government.
But how is it that True Finns have come to win almost one fifth of the popular vote?
Observers say this is a general frustration with mainsteam politicians amid voter concern over the state of the economy and high unemployment.
True Finns blame the country’s woes on Brussels — As Soini once said in an interview: “Where there is the EU, there is a problem.”
Finland joined the European Union in 1995 and is the only Nordic country to have adopted the euro
But True Finns oppose bailing out indebted fellow members and question why Finland should have to pick up some of the bill for the fiscal indiscipline of others.
If the party manages to carry out its threat to block or delay any further bailout negotiations, the aftershocks from their election success will be felt well beyond Finnish borders.
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