HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland’s anti-immigration Finns Party should vote on whether to remain in the ruling coalition, one of its deputy leaders said on Monday with tensions growing over the country’s handling of an influx of asylum seekers.
Sebastian Tynkkynen, one of three vice chairmen, said the government of the Finns, the National Coalition and the Center Party was neglecting a commitment to keeping the number of asylum seekers at 2014 levels - 3,600.
Following a big spike in arrivals in recent months, the Helsinki government has raised its estimate for the number of asylum seekers expected to reach the Nordic country this year to about 50,000.
“If the coalition can’t close the Swedish border and thereby stop 50,000 people from arriving in our country, the Finns Party cannot stand back and allow the immigration policy to be wrecked,” Tynkkynen said in a statement.
But the Finns Party chairman, Foreign Minister Timo Soini, said Tynkkynen’s call for a meeting of party officials was unnecessary. “The party has a strong mandate from both our members and the people. Quitting the government at this point would be irresponsible and create a political crisis in Finland,” Soini told national broadcaster YLE.
More than 500,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in European Union countries from the Middle East, Africa and Asia this year - the continent’s biggest migration wave since the end of World War Two.
Reporting by Anna Ercanbrack; Editing by Terje Solsvik/Mark Heinrich