Wife’s cancer diagnosis puts Paavo Väyrynen’s political ambitions on hold

The former foreign minister's wife Vuokko had been ill for several weeks before the cancer diagnosis came on Saturday.

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Politician Paavo Väyrynen speaking at a Helsinki press conference on 26.04.2018

Veteran politician Paavo Väyrynen has revealed that his wife has been diagnosed with cancer, and says he’s now uncertain about his own political future.

Väyrynen says his wife Vuokko had been ill for several weeks before the cancer was diagnosed on Saturday, and that she will be receiving treatment in Helsinki’s Mielahti hospital which he described in a Monday blog post as “top class”.

That means the former foreign minister’s plans to form a new political party and run for parliament are likely to be put on hold.

Commemorative mug featuring Paavo Väyrynen and his wife Vuokko, sold as part of his presidential election fundraising campaign

“The illness also affects my life and my job. In the coming weeks and month Vuokko will need all possible support and care. That is why I have cut off from my timetable everything that is not directly involved in my work as an MP” writes Väyrynen, who represents a Lapland constituency in parliament.

“Under these circumstances, I can no longer participate in collecting support cards to get on the party register. This work remains the responsibility of my supporters” he said.

 

Seven Star political movement

In recent months Väyrynen has been trying to get enough support from voters to register his Seven Star movement as a legitimate political party.

Back in September he conceded that time was running out for him to gather the 10,000 signatures required for registration.

Väyrynen decided to form the Seven Star Movement earlier this year after he was kicked out of the Citizens’ Party over a disagreement about election expenses.

He formed the Citizen’s Party after another disagreement with the Centre Party, where he had previously been a life-long member. Väyrynen was reportedly offended when he wasn’t offered a plum ministerial post in Prime Minister Juha Sipilä‘s government after the 2015 general election.

After more than 50 years in politics, Väyrynen has become solidly linked to the Centre Party, no matter what party’s banner he tries to run under.

In January’s presidential elections, Väyrynen ran as a Citizens’ Party candidate and finished fourth, beating the official Centre Party candidate former Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen.

At the time, Väyrynen said his presidential campaign had been a big success, but his share of the vote (and actual vote totals) collapsed in comparison to 2012, and it seems voters are losing interest in the warhorse campaigner.