Vanhanen appeals on behalf of nuclear energy
Outgoing Centre Party leader addresses delegate council
In a speech to the Centre Party's delegate council on Saturday, the party's outgoing chairman, Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, made an impassioned appeal on behalf of the government’s decisions on nuclear energy.
The government recently gave its support to licence applications for the construction of two commercial nuclear reactors
In an emotional speech, Vanhanen said that it took him nearly six years to turn his coat on the nuclear issue. Now he says that he is “fully convinced” of the need for nuclear energy.
He said that he was asking much when he left opponents of nuclear energy in the Centre Party just two months to reconsider their stand.
“I will never be convinced”, said someone in the back room to Helsingin Sanomat.
Vanhanen appealed to the people at meeting not to put details of the government’s energy package up to a vote.
Vanhanen used presentations that he had made as long as 31 years ago on the subject. He said that he knew that much of the audience remained opposed to nuclear energy.
Vanhanen’s comments got some negative reactions. Marjaana Hoikkala, the chair of the party’s student organisation, indicated that the ministerial group had got it all backwards.
However, there was a round of applause when Vanhanen said that the forest owners would be getting a “jackpot” from the energy package.
Vanhanen steered clear of the debate within the Centre Party concerning election funding.
Party Secretary Jarmo Korhonen spoke about organisational changes within the party. Like Vanhanen he steered around the election funding issue, although he did say that henceforth the party would not accept any donations higher than EUR 29,999.
Korhonen said that he had removed the names of 5,400 deceased members.
Korhonen had calculated that Finland has 110,000 households with at least one person who is a Centre Party member.
Korhonen said that a new graphic image would be launched for the party, and added that the party’s chair would soon have the ability to send 150,000 text messages at the same time.
He said that the coming party congress in Lahti would be an impressive event - “a new Woodstock” with a “magnificent” programme.
More on this subject:
Pekkarinen favourite as next Centre Party leader among delegate council members
Previously in HS International Edition:
Intense wrangling behind government decision on nuclear energy (23.4.2010)
Government endorses two new nuclear reactors (22.4.2010)
Centre Party Secretary Korhonen under pressure in campaign finance furore (15.4.2010)
Wood energy bill to be linked with new nuclear plant authorisation (6.4.2010)