Paavo Väyrynen selflessly offers himself as Centre Party leader

Veteran politician believes he is the right man to lead the party in the 2021 municipal elections, and the 2023 Parliamentary elections.

File picture of Paavo Väyrynen (Centre) during 2018 Presidential election interview / Credit: News Now Finland, MTV Uutiset

Veteran Finnish politician Paavo Väyrynen has offered himself up to be the leader of the Centre Party – but only on a temporary basis.

Although the Centre Party doesn’t have a leadership vacancy, Väyrynen says that he could take charge through the 2021 municipal elections and the 2023 Parliamentary elections.

“If I could save the party with my candidacy, I would of course have a direct obligation to be available” he writes, claiming that a number of people have contacted him to encourage him to do this.

This week marks the 50th anniversary of Väyrynen being elected as a Member of Parliament. Since then he’s held the leadership of the Centre Party for a decade; run for president four times; been a local council in Helsinki; foreign minister; education minister; labour minister; deputy prime minister, and an MEP.

After quitting the Centre Party in 2016 when he didn’t get a senior position he thought he was due in Juha Sipilä‘s cabinet, he went on to found the Citizens’ Party – then separated from them acrimoniously a short time later.

After that, Väyrynen formed the Seven Star Movement which attracted far right neo-Nazi candidates to stand at the 2019 European Parliament elections.

“I will be involved in political activities for a long time” writes the 73-year old.

“As long as there is enough health and support.”

Väyrynen is not currently a Member of Parliament, nor a Member of the European Parliament after failing to get enough support to be elected in spring last year.