Parliament Green Light For Väyrynen’s Return

The 71-year old will take up his seat in parliament on 12th June.

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Politician Paavo Väyrynen speaking at a Helsinki press conference on 26.04.2018

Veteran Finnish politician Paavo Väyrynen (Centre) has been given the green light to come back to parliament, and take his constituency seat on 12th June.

Parliament’s Secretary General Maija-Leena Paavola said that experts concluded there was nothing stopping him returning, after he gave up the seat he won in the 2015 elections, to go to the European Parliament instead.

Mikko Kärnä (Centre) is the Lapland MP who will have to step aside to let Väyrynen have his seat back, and he had been challenging that through parliament’s Rules of Procedure.

The challenge has now been dismissed.

Kärnä tells News Now Finland that he is “perfectly fine” about the situation.

“I’ll have several job offers, but I can get the ‘adjustment allowance’ for one year also before the next elections if I wish, and maybe write couple of books” says Kärnä.

“Don’t really know yet. But in the summer I have to decide is it European Parliament or [Finnish] parliamentary elections that I will be running” he adds.

Väyrynen’s Convoluted Political Journey

Paavo Väyrynen, 71, announced his return to domestic politics earlier this spring. The move had immediate implications for Kärnä who had been keeping Väyrynen’s Lapland seat warm over the past three years while he went off to the European Parliament.

Väyrynen has severed formal ties with the Centre Party which he lead for a decade from 1980, and plans to form his own parliamentary group when he returns to Helsinki.

His recent feud with the Citizens’ Party, of which he’s a founding member, also complicates the situation. Other party leaders kicked him out over financial issues, and that decision is currently being challenged in a Helsinki court.

Väyrynen has made it clear he plans to be a thorn in the side of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) especially over the social and healthcare reform bill. The PM enjoys only a slim parliamentary majority, and a number of his coalition MPs have said they won’t support the reform package. Sipilä can now count Väyrynen as one of those who oppose him.

Väyrynen has said he plans to run as a candidate for the Citizens’ Party in both the European elections and Finnish general elections scheduled for next year. He is also currently a member of Helsinki City Council, although he doesn’t live in the capital.

Centre Party Divorce

Väyrynen’s long and painful divorce from the Centre Party – he formed the breakaway Citizens’ Party as a reaction to not being offered a plum ministerial position in Sipilä’s government – is finally complete.

He snubbed his former party in January’s presidential election by running as an independent candidate, coming fourth and beating the official Centre Party candidate, former Prime Minister Matti Vahnanen. This was Väyrynen’s fourth failed attempt at becoming president of Finland.

After the election he announced that he would challenge Sipilä for chairmanship of the Centre Party – of which he was still at that time a member – and vowed to win, and become Prime Minister as well. However he later pulled out of that race.