National Coalition Party
|National Coalition Party|
|Finnish name||Kansallinen Kokoomus r.p.|
|Swedish name||Samlingspartiet r.p.|
|Headquarters||Kansakoulukuja 3 A
|International affiliation||International Democrat Union|
|European affiliation||European People's Party|
|European Parliament group||European People's Party|
|Politics of Finland
Founded in 1918, the National Coalition Party is one of the four largest parties in Finland, along with the Social Democratic Party, the Finns Party and the Centre Party. The party bases its politics on "individual freedom and responsibility, equality, Western democracy and economic system, humane principles and caring." The party is strongly pro-European and is a member of the European People's Party (EPP).
Its vote share has been around 20% in parliamentary elections in the 1990s and 2000s (decade). It won 44 out of 200 seats in the parliamentary elections of 2011, becoming the largest party in the Finnish parliament for the first time in its history. The National Coalition Party also formed the current coalition government, the Stubb Cabinet. On the municipal level, it became the most popular party in 2008 and has retained that position.
Under the leadership of Jyrki Katainen, KOK shifted from a socially conservative, neoliberal party of the upper class towards a socially liberal, centre-right catch-all party. It is now moderately liberal and reformist, and supports, among other things, multiculturalism and same sex marriage. Its voters are predominantly urban, while in rural regions its performance is relatively weak. The current leader is Alexander Stubb, elected on 14 June 2014.
Ideology and voter base
According to its platform the National Coalition Party wants to build "a society where a person’s own choices, hopes, and needs set the direction for national development." The party defends "individual freedom, and promotes people’s opportunities to make choices, but without ignoring everyone’s responsibility for their own life, others, and the environment. Our ideology combines freedom with responsibility, democracy, and equality". The party's basic values are education, tolerance, rewarding and caring. The party also values multiculturalism. According to the history section of the official website the platform has been shaped by ideas of conservatism, liberalism and social reform, which have all contributed to the current ideology.[third-party source needed] On the other hand, Alexander Stubb, a prominent cabinet minister of the party, has stated that the party's current policies under incumbent chairman Jyrki Katainen are "unambiguously liberal". In 2010 the party congress voted in favour of supporting same-sex marriage.
The party has several political currents. In international affairs, the party has viewed the European Union in very positive terms. It is also supportive of seeking membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The party wants to build an "economically and politically stronger European Union, we envisage an EU that is a more effective and a more prominent actor in world politics".
Polls show that as of 2008, the National Coalition Party is the party that has been viewed most positively by Finns and its membership has been on the rise. Out of the major parties, the National Coalition Party has the highest proportion of women (2005 statistics) and is the most favored party among young generations (2008 statistics). The party has strongest support in the cities of Southern Finland and is popular among entrepreneurs, although not associating with any particular social group.
People can join various member organizations in the party. The main organization consists of municipal chapters, organized into districts. As with other major parties, each chapter sends a representative to an annual party congress. A party council, consisting of 1–9 representatives from each district, selects the party management. The party management, which is the active daily management of the party, has a representative from each district as well as representatives from three member organizations (youth, women's, and student wings), three vice presidents and the party president (currently Jyrki Katainen). The party has a main office, headed by the party secretary. There is a parliamentary group with a separate president, similar to a Whip, and the group has an office with staff; a European Parliament group (a subsection of the European People's Party group); and the group of ministers.
In addition to the party's youth wing (Kokoomuksen Nuorten Liitto), the party also has a student wing, the Student Union of National Coalition (Finnish: Kokoomusopiskelijat Tuhatkunta, Swedish: Samlingspartiets Studerandeförbund Tuhatkunta), which is the largest political student organisation in Finland.
The party's Women's League (Kokoomuksen Naisten Liitto/Samlingspartiets Kvinnoförbund, or shortly Kokoomusnaiset) brings women together and focuses on improving gender equality in Finland and around the world. It believes that "women and men must have the same opportunities and rights to come to life, grow up, receive education, participate, work and care". The Swedish-language activities are organised by the Centre-right Coalition in Finland (Borgerlig samling i Finland, BiF).
The party was founded 9 December 1918, after the Finnish Civil War, by the majority of the Finnish Party and the minority of the Young Finnish Party supporting monarchy. (The previous day the republicans of both parties had founded the National Progressive Party.) The founding meeting declared, "A national coalition is needed over old party lines that have lost meaning and have too long separated similarly thinking citizens. This coalition's grand task must be to work to strengthen in our nation the forces that maintain society. Lawful societal order must be strictly upheld and there must be no compromise with revolutionary aspirations. But simultaneously determined constructive reform work must be pursued." The party sought to accomplish this by advocating constitutional monarchy and, failing that, strong governmental powers within a republican framework; and by implementing a number of social and economic reforms, such as compulsory education, universal health care, and progressive income and property taxation.
In the late 1920s and early 1930s the threat posed by the Joseph Stalin's communist Soviet Union influenced Finnish politics. Communists, backed by Soviet leaders, accelerated their activities. The ideological position was strongly conservative, and this was poorly received particularly by the youth, who were attracted to irredentist and outright fascist movements instead, such as the Academic Karelia Society or Patriotic People's Movement. Although Pehr Evind Svinhufvud, the party's first President, played a key role in halting the Lapua Movement, in the 1933 parliamentary election the party formed an electoral coalition with Patriotic People's Movement, founded by former Lapua Movement supporters. The result was a major defeat. The party lost 24 of its previous 42 seats in the parliament. It made a break with the Patriotic People's Movement in 1934 under the newly elected chairman J.K. Paasikivi. Nevertheless it was shut out of government until the outbreak of the Winter War and only slowly gained back support. During both the Winter War and the Continuation War, the party took part in unity governments and generally strongly supported government policies. After the war the National Coalition Party sought to portray itself as defender of democracy against the resurgent Finnish communists. Paasikivi, who had advocated making more concessions to Soviet Union before the Winter War and taken a cautious line with regard to cooperation with Germany before the Continuation War, acted first as Prime Minister (1944–1946) and then as President (1946–1956). The conflict between the party and the communist Finnish People's Democratic League culminated when President Paasikivi fired the Communist Minister of the Interior Yrjö Leino, who had used the security police to spy on the party's youth organization among other abuses.
In 1951 the party changed its name from the original Kansallinen Kokoomuspuolue to the current Kansallinen Kokoomus. The 1950s were also a time of ideological reform, as emphasis on individual liberty and free market reforms increased at the expense of social conservatism and maintaining a strong government. A minor division in 1958 led to the formation of the Christian Democrats.
From 1966 to 1987 the party was shut out of government. By criticizing President Urho Kekkonen and Finnish communists, the party had lost the President's trust and governments based on the Centre Party and left-wing parties followed one another. A new guard emerged within the party in the 1970s that sought to improve relations with President Kekkonen. Their work was partially successful in the late 1970s. However, even though the party supported Kekkonen for president in 1978 and became the second biggest party in the country in the 1979 parliamentary election, a place in the government continued to elude it until the end of Kekkonen's time in office.
During the long years in opposition the party's support had grown steadily and in 1987 it attained the best parliamentary election result in its history. Harri Holkeri became the party's first Prime Minister since Paasikivi. During Holkeri's time in office, the Finnish economy suffered a downturn, precipitated by a coincidence of factors, and the 1991 parliamentary election resulted in a loss. The party continued in the government as a junior partner until the 2003 parliamentary election, after which it spent four years in the opposition.
In 1990, the Youth Union of National Coalition was the first significant political organization in Finland to publicly advocate membership in the European Union.
The current party chairman is Jyrki Katainen, who was elected in 2004. In March 2006, Katainen was elected Vice-President of the European People's Party (EPP). He is seen as a dynamic and reforming person by many party members although there have been some doubts in the Finnish media about his lack of experience and relatively young age (born in 1971). The previous party chairman is Ville Itälä, who was elected as a Member of the European Parliament after his term in office in 2003.
The National Coalition Party had been in the opposition since the 2003 parliamentary election, in which it suffered a defeat, getting only 18.6% of the votes and losing six seats to bring its total down to 40. (It later gained two seats through defections.) In the 2007 parliamentary election the party increased its share to 50 seats in what was the biggest gain of the election. The party held a close second place in the Parliament after the Centre Party, which had 51 seats. The Social Democratic Party were third with 45 seats. After the election the party entered into a coalition government together with the Centre Party, the Green League, and the Swedish People's Party. The NCP got important portfolios, including those of Finance and Foreign Affairs.
In the 2011 parliamentary election the party finished first place for the first time in history with 44 seats, despite losing six seats. After lengthy negotiations party chairman Jyrki Katainen became Prime Minister in a six-party coalition government, which includes parties from left to right.
The National Coalition Party's candidate in the 2006 Finnish presidential election was former Minister of Finance and ex-party chairman Sauli Niinistö. He qualified for the second round runoff as one of the top two candidates in the first round, but was defeated by the incumbent Tarja Halonen with 51.8% of the vote against his 48.2%. The party again nominated Sauli Niinistö for the presidential election of 2012. Niinistö won the election, beating his Green opponent decisively on the second round with an overwhelming 62.6% portion of the votes, and thus becoming the third president elected from the party. Niinistö's margin of victory was larger than that of any previous directly elected president. He won a majority in 14 of the country's 15 electoral districts. Niinistö has emphasized nonpartisanism. When he became President, he gave an emotional speech in which he thanked not only those who backed him in the campaign, but also those who disagreed with him. Niinistö said that the differing views expressed should be taken into consideration in the work of the president.
In June 2014 Katainen stepped down as party chairman and Prime Minister of Finland for a new position in the European Union. Katainen was replaced by Alexander Stubb as chairman of the National Coalition Party and thus chosen to be the next Prime Minister. Katainen's cabinet will be succeeded by the cabinet of Alexander Stubb on 23 June 2014.
|1968||1 388||364 428||16,09%|
|1972||1 503||451 484||18,06%|
|1976||2 047||561 121||20,92%|
|1980||2 373||628 950||22,94%|
|1984||2 423||619 264||22,96%|
|1988||2 392||601 468||22,87%|
|1992||2 009||507 574||19,05%|
|1996||2 167||514 313||21,64%|
|2000||2 028||463 493||20,84%|
|2004||2 078||521 412||21,83%|
|2008||2 020||597 727||23,45%|
|2012||1 735||544 682||21,9%|
|1925||Hugo Suolahti||68||141 240||22,71%|
|1931||Pehr Evind Svinhufvud||64||180 378||21,56%|
|1937||Pehr Evind Svinhufvud||86||330 980||29,75%|
|1950||Juho Kusti Paasikivi||68||360 789||22,88%|
|1956||Sakari Tuomioja||54||340 311||17,94%|
|1968||Matti Virkkunen||58||432 014||21,19%|
|1978||Urho Kekkonen||45||360 310||14,72%|
|1982||Harri Holkeri||58||593 271||18,7%|
|1988||Harri Holkeri||63||603 180||20,2%|
|1988||Harri Holkeri||570 340||18,4%|
|1994||Raimo Ilaskivi||1k 485 035||1k 15,2 %|
|2000||Riitta Uosukainen||1k 392 305||1k 12,8 %|
|2006||Sauli Niinistö||1k 725 866
2k 1 518 333
|1k 24,06 %
2k 48,21 %
|2012||Sauli Niinistö||1k 1 131 254
2k 1 802 400
|1k 37 %
2k 62,6 %
List of party Chairmen
- Hugo Suolahti (1918–1919)
- Eemil Nestor Setälä (1920)
- Antti Tulenheimo (1921–1924)
- Hugo Suolahti (1925)
- Kyösti Haataja (1926–1932)
- Paavo Virkkunen (1932–1933)
- Juho Kusti Paasikivi (1934–1936)
- Pekka Pennanen (1936–1942)
- Edwin Linkomies (1943–1944)
- K. F. Lehtonen (1945)
- Arvo Salminen (1946–1954)
- Jussi Saukkonen (1955–1965)
- Juha Rihtniemi (1965–1971)
- Harri Holkeri (1971–1979)
- Ilkka Suominen (1979–1991)
- Pertti Salolainen (1991–1994)
- Sauli Niinistö (1994–2001)
- Ville Itälä (2001–2004)
- Jyrki Katainen (2004–2014)
- Alexander Stubb (2014- )
Prominent party leaders
- Lauri Ingman – Prime Minister of Finland 1918–1919 and 1924–1925
- Antti Tulenheimo – Prime Minister of Finland 1925
- Pehr Evind Svinhufvud – President of Finland 1931–1937
- Edwin Linkomies – Prime Minister of Finland 1943–1944
- Juho Kusti Paasikivi – President of Finland 1946–1956, Prime Minister of Finland 1944–1946
- Harri Holkeri – Prime Minister of Finland 1987–1991
- Riitta Uosukainen - Speaker of the Parliament of Finland 1994-1995, 1995-1999, 1999-2003
- Sauli Niinistö – Minister of Finance of Finland 1995–2003, Speaker of the Parliament of Finland 2007–2011, President of Finland 2012-
- Jyrki Katainen - Minister of Finance of Finland 2007-2011, Prime Minister of Finland 2011-2014
- Alexander Stubb - Prime Minister of Finland, 2014-
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to National Coalition Party.|
- National Coalition Party – Official site (Finnish)
- Youth Union of National Coalition (Finnish)
- Student Union of National Coalition (Finnish)
- National Coalition Party Women (Finnish)
- Party's news and announcement paper (Finnish)
- European People's Party official site