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Finland’s government agrees anti-racism policy to save coalition

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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.

Within days of assuming power in June, the government was in turmoil when media revealed writings by ministers from the Finns Party, a far-right coalition member and Finland’s second largest political group, that were deemed racist by some critics.

Economy Minister Vilhelm Junnila was soon forced to resign over repeated Nazi references while the Finns Party’s leader, Finance Minister Riikka Purra, apologised for anonymous online comments posted some 15 years ago that included racial slurs.

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.

The policy is Orpo’s attempt to reunite the cabinet, in which one of the smaller allies, the centrist Swedish People’s Party (SPP), in particular, has had a hard time accepting the revelations.

SPP leader Anna-Maja Henriksson said she and her party had endorsed the new policy.

“The Swedish faction of parliament has approved the outcome of negotiations,” Henriksson said in a late-night post on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

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