Despite being only a splinter of the formerly influential Finns Party, New Alternative boasts several heavyweights such as Foreign Minister and former party chair Timo Soini, Defense Minister Jussi Niinistö, Health Minister Pirrko Mattila, parliamentary speaker Maria Lohela and parliamentary group's leader Sampo Terho.
Contrary to the Finns' party's firm belief that further cooperation was impossible, the dissenters swore allegiance to the Sipilä government and pledged to be ready to continue under the same program, whereupon they were allowed to keep their posts by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä.
According to New Alternative leader Simon Elo, the move was not only a reaction to anti-immigration hardliner Jussi Halla-aho's rise to power, but a response to general changes the party has undergone. Elo also remarked that the decision to break off from the Finns party had been "surprisingly easy." Former Finns chair Timo Soini joined New Alternative as a rank-and-file member and lamented that the Finns Party was no longer the same, despite previously saying that defecting to another party was unthinkable.
"If this is their idea of respecting the outcome of a democratic election, then I beg to differ," Jussi Halla-aho concluded drily.
In addition to essentially stopping the Finns' ambition to become the country's leading opposition force, New Alternative rejuvenated the ruling coalition between the Center Party and the National Coalition Party, while effectively dashing the hopes of the Swedish People's Party and the Christian Democrats of entering the government.
The election of hardline Euro-skeptic and openly anti-immigration Halla-aho is largely seen as an ideological comeback for the right-wing Finns Party, which has been losing momentum after a brief flash of popularity. With the party's perennial leader Timo Soini resigning amid mounting accusations of populism from the most uncompromising Finns voters, Halla-aho, who openly pledged to lead Finland out of EU and the Eurozone, was seen as a back-to-the-roots maneuver. However, the recent schism makes Finland's formerly second-largest party's perspectives all the vaguer.