A political movement spearheaded by millionaire reality TV show host, MP Hjallis Harkimo (Ind) has unveiled its first slate of candidates to contest the upcoming general election.
The 43 Liike Nyt – ‘Movement Now’ in English – candidates were announced in Helsinki on Monday afternoon, with the event streamed live online. Slightly more than 60% of the candidates are men, and there’s no people with foreign backgrounds among the first batch of candidates.
Although Liike Nyt is not an officially registered political party in Finland, the candidates can register themselves as individuals standing for election if they get the supporting signatures from 100 eligible voters.
“This is a kind of political crowd-sourcing where we are a platform for all those who are interested in decision making and politics, but where they don’t want to be involved in any traditional political party” says Mikael Jungner, a former member of parliament himself, and one of the movement’s founders.
“We have some basic values. If you are a racist, if you are against the European Union, if you are a climate change denier, this is not your movement. But in other cases, this is a movement for you, and I guess 70% of Finns agree with these values” Jungner explains.
If any of the candidates get into parliament, they’ll have to confirm that they’ll vote in line with Liike Nyt policies and goals, despite not having an official, formal party structure.
Movement bosses have been interviewing potential candidates, and expect to have up to 150 in total standing at the general election on 14th April. Although there’s been interest around the country, some areas don’t have any prospective candidates yet, like Vaasa, Pori and Åland.
Jungner concedes that Liike Nyt has attracted the attention of white men, and says they’re unlikely to reach gender parity. He also admits there’s not been much interest from Finns with foreign backgrounds to join the movement.
“We’ve had quite a few discussions with people who are foreign origin, but in these cases they are not ready to step up. But our goal is to get as wide a group of candidates as possible” he tells News Now Finland.
How the movement was founded
Liike Nyt was launched in April 2018, and aimed to increase transparency in Finnish political decision making.
Their ‘internet parliament’ has 12,000 members, and tries to empower voters to have more direct input to policy decisions by posing questions and having experts weigh in with information which allowed the ‘parliament members’ to have a say.
Apart from Harkimon and Jungner, the other co-founders of the movement include TV talk show host Tuomas Enbuske; as well as entrepreneurs, a political researcher and a communications agency boss. The seven were initially funding the venture themselves, with Harkimo in charge.