Finns Party holds congress in Kajaani
Party hopes it might hold balance in Helsinki region after municipal elections
The populist Finns Party hopes to hold the balance of power in the cities of the greater Helsinki region after the municipal elections in October.
“Vantaa is a clear case. We may even end up being the largest party there”, says party chairman Timo Soini.
Espoo is seen as more difficult. “There we need to aim at a situation in which the National Coalition Party and the Swedish People’s Party cannot form a majority on their own. In Helsinki we need to break the axis, so that the Social Democrats and the National Coalition Party will not be able to agree on everything between themselves."
The Party Council of the Finns Party met in Kajaani at the weekend to put the finishing touches on the party’s programme for the municipal elections.
Soini lists three priorities for the autumn’s campaign. The first of these is democracy and opposition to corruption.
“In many local authorities we have an established group of people in power. It is often the Centre Party or the axis of the brothers in arms [the Social Democrats and the National Coalition Party]. They need to be toppled.”
Another focal point of the campaign is the municipal reform and the related social services and health care. The Finns Party wants more input into basic health care.
Soini’s third priority involves local services.
He said that services need to be available both at for people using causeways to cross rural swamps, and those travelling by tram in Helsinki.
The Finns Party has not yet made its municipal programme public. However, it has been reported that the programme calls for the elimination of patients’ fees at public health clinics, opposition to forced municipal mergers, and the serving of local food for lunch at schools, day care centres, and homes for the elderly.
“Two matters are decisive in the municipal elections: the fielding of candidates, and the activities of the party’s own rank-and-file. People need to get the idea that we have a different policy line”, Soini says.
However, the fielding of candidates has not been as successful as the Finns Party had hoped, especially in small communities.
During the meeting the party’s council took time off to celebrate the 50th birthday of Timo Soini.
The music was provided by a band playing cover songs of Soini’s favourite music group, Status Quo.
The band was accompanied by Soini’s own lively air guitar performance.
New surge for Finns Party seems unlikely (12.6.2012)