Finnish parties enlist help from abroad in election campaign
The National Coalition Party and the Social Democratic Party have sought help in their election campaigns from like-minded groups in other European countries. Both parties had foreign guests in Finland on Monday.
At the Social Democratic Party’s campaign cabin set up at Helsinki’s main railway station, MEP Liisa Jaakonsaari noted that inviting colleagues from other countries is an old tradition.
The SDP’s main guest, Martin Schulz, the chairman of the group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, almost could not make it, but thanks to a cancellation of a scheduled meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Schulz was able to get to Helsinki for the evening.
During the day his place was taken by another MEP, Swedish Social Democrat Marita Ulvskog. Although the debt crisis does not directly apply to Sweden, which is not in the EU’s Economic and Monetary Union, Ulvskog echoed the view of the Finnish Social Democrats, according to which “investors and banks need to take responsibility”.
More than Ulvskog, the crowd was interested in former Finnish Prime Minister and SDP leader Paavo Lipponen, who praised the EU and EMU. He also said that Finland is in a psychological and moral slump.
The crowd was bigger a couple of hours later at the National Coalition Party’s cabin at the statue of the Three Smiths, where the party’s chairman, Minister of Finance Jyrki Katainen had invited Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to address the gathering.
Reinfeldt gathered a large crowd, but as was the case with the SDP rally, most of people there were the party’s own candidates and their supporters.
It was hard to see or hear anything, and Reinfeldt was mainly pursued by the media. While Reinfeldt did not get a chance to actually address the crowd, candidate Sakari Oka managed to ask him if the Swedish Prime Minister always wears a necktie.
MP Ben Zyskowicz observed the events from the side. He would not estimate how many votes the Swedish visit might have brought the party.
The Centre Party has not enlisted the help of political figures from other countries.
The Green League had guests from the German Green Party last week. They did not attend any campaign events. Instead they were in Finland learning about the Finnish style of street campaigning.