June 13, 2017 / 12:51 PM / a month ago

Finnish PM says no need to break up coalition after nationalist split

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Finnish Prime Minister and Centre Party chairman Juha Sipila attends a news conference at the PM's official residence Kesaranta in Helsinki, Finland, June 12, 2017. LEHTIKUVA/Jussi Nukari/ via REUTERS

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland's centre-right coalition government can continue operating without break-up following the split the nationalist Finns Party, Prime Minister Juha Sipila said on Tuesday.

"We have a new situation... the conclusion is that we can continue with... the same government programme and I will propose this to parliamentary groups this evening," Sipila told reporters.

Sipila had threatened to eject the Finns Party from his coalition after it picked a new hardline anti-immigrant leadership.

But earlier on Tuesday, the Finns Party split into two groups, with moderates including former leader Timo Soini forming a new parliamentary group called New Alternative.

Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl and Tuomas Forsell; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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