Time running out for Paavo Väyrynen’s party dreams

Veteran politician is struggling to gather enough voter support cards to legally register his Seven Star Movement as an official political party.

File picture of Paavo Väyrynen / Credit: News Now Finland

Veteran politician Paavo Väyrynen (Ind) has conceded that time is running out on his dream of forming a new political movement in Finland.

In a blog post today he writes that with parliamentary elections coming up in the spring, he’s fallen far short of collecting the 10,000 voter support cards he needs to legally register a political party.

The 72-year-old, who was first elected as a member of parliament almost 50 years ago, is trying to drum up enough support to form the Seven Star Movement, but there may not be enough support to officially file to form a legal political party and also mount an election campaign.

“If we can not collect cards by mid-October, there is no need to participate in the elections. There would be too little time to set up candidates and prepare for elections” Väyrynen writes in his blog.

But he notes that the Blue Reform political party initially struggled to gather momentum last autumn when they were trying to collect voter support cards, so he is hopeful there could be a surge in support in the coming weeks.

Turbulent political times

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.