Jussi Halla-aho, the charismatic leader of the True Finns Party (Perussuomalaiset), shook national politics on Monday by announcing his resignation to continue leading the party.
In a message broadcast online, the politician who rebuilt the right-wing populist party after the split in 2017 with a message focused on nationalism, euroscepticism and the rejection of immigration said that he will not stand for reelection as chairman at the congress that the 'persut' will hold in mid-August in Seinäjoki.
Halla-aho, who has led the party for 4 years, has not taken a position on who should lead the group in the future.
He will continue his work as a Member of Parliament and Helsinki City Councilor.
Halla-aho explained that he already announced the matter to his "inner circle" a year ago.
He also discussed it with the party leadership in January and with the parliamentary group after the municipal elections held on June 13, in which he was the most voted candidate in Finland with 18,978 votes.
Halla-aho, who in the past has spoken in favor of limiting leadership time, has hardly given any explanations about the reason for his departure.
"I said four years ago that it is not good for a party leader to cling too hard to his position or to feel comfortable in the role for too long," Halla-aho told Finnish national broadcaster (Yle).
To replace him, some names such as Laura Huhtasaari and Riikka Purra are already being mentioned by the Finnish press. They have until 23 July to present their candidacies.