Timo Soini

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Timo Soini
Timo Soini.jpg
Member of Finnish Parliament
for Uusimaa
Incumbent
Assumed office
20 April 2011
In office
19 March 2003 – 13 July 2009
Succeeded by Pietari Jääskeläinen
Member of the European Parliament
In office
13 July 2009 – 19 April 2011
Succeeded by Sampo Terho
Member of Espoo City Council
Incumbent
Assumed office
2001
Member of Espoo City Board
In office
2007–2008
Leader of the Finns Party
Incumbent
Assumed office
1997
Preceded by Raimo Vistbacka
Personal details
Born Timo Juhani Soini
(1962-05-30) 30 May 1962 (age 51)
Rauma, Finland
Nationality Finnish
Political party True Finns
Alma mater University of Helsinki
Occupation Politician
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website timosoini.fi
Military service
Service/branch Finnish Army
Rank Alikersantti hihalaatta.svg Corporal

Timo Juhani Soini (born 30 May 1962) is a Finnish politician, the co-founder and current leader of the Finns Party (a.k.a. True Finns). He was a member of the European Parliament from 2009 until 2011, when he returned to the Parliament of Finland. Well known as an EU-sceptic populist,[1] he was elected a member of the Espoo city council in 2000 and the Parliament of Finland in 2003. In the 2009 European Parliament election he won a seat in the European Parliament with Finland's highest personal vote share (nearly 10% of all votes), becoming the first True Finn in the European Parliament.[1][2]

In the 2011 parliamentary election, his party won 19.1% of the votes, which was described as "shocking" and "exceptional" by the Finnish media.[3] Soini himself won the most votes of all candidates,[4] leaving behind the Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb and the Minister of Finance Jyrki Katainen in their Uusimaa electoral district.[5] Helsingin Sanomat concluded that "Timo Soini rewrote the electoral history books".[6]

Soini has become one of the internationally best-known critics of European Union bailouts and safety mechanisms. Soini's column "Why I Don't Support Europe's Bailouts" in the Wall Street Journal was the most read and emailed article of the magazine's daily European edition.[7]

Personal background[edit]

Timo Soini worked for the food company Linkosuo Oy for two summers in 1981 and 1982 and was Secretary General and Chairman of the Kehittyvän Suomen Nuorten Liitto (Youth league of developing Finland) from 1983 to 1992. He graduated as Master of Political Science from the University of Helsinki in 1988, majoring in political theory. His military rank is Corporal.[8][9] He is a devout Roman Catholic, which he became as a result of his experiences on his many trips to Ireland (in Finland the Catholic Church is a small minority church having merely 11 000 members).[10] He was also influenced by the pope's anti-communism and anti-atheism.[11] Soini has also publicly announced that he is a cordial friend of the state of Israel.[12] According to the BBC, Soini is "a die-hard supporter" of English football club Millwall FC.[13] Soini currently lives in the Kaitaa district of Espoo, in the Greater Helsinki area, and he has resided in the same block of flats since 1968.[14] He is married and has two children.[8]

Political career[edit]

Soini was a member of the Finnish Rural Party, and was its Secretary General from 1992. After the Rural Party dissolved following the March 1995 elections, Soini and two others filed paperwork, in mid-May 1995, to create a new political party, initially to be called the Pure Finnish Association. It was, instead, founded as the True Finns Party and two years later Soini succeeded Raimo Vistbacka as Chairman, a position he has held ever since. He ran for a seat in parliament in the spring 1999 elections, but lost. He was first elected to the parliament in 2003. Soini was his party's candidate in the 2006 Presidential election, finishing fifth out of the eight candidates in the first round, with a vote share of 3.4%. In March 2008, Soini wrote an autobiographical book called Maisterisjätkä, published by Tammi.

In 2011 he visited the party conference of UKIP, the British political party with which he has had a long friendship. He was also invited to speak at the UK Conservative Party Conference in 2011, and again spoke at the UKIP National Conference 2013 in London on 20 September.

Parliamentary election 2011[edit]

The True Finns obtained 39 seats in the 2011 election, making them the third largest party. Soini received 43 437 personal votes (1,5% of all votes), the highest amount of all of the candidates.[4] Soini managed to raise the popularity of the party from 4.1% to 19.1% in four years. Helsingin Sanomat opined in an editorial that Soini "rewrote the electoral history books".[6] According to the BBC, behind Soini's success was "brain, wit and charisma".[15] A political analyst[who?] and the university professor Jan Sundberg pointed to Soini's oratorical skills and ability to appeal to common people and make complicated things look easy.[15] The election result was also referred to as "shocking" and "exceptional".[3] During the government negotiations following the election the True Finns decided against participating in Katainen's coalition cabinet, citing greatly differing stances on the EU, especially regarding bailouts for debt-ridden euro countries.

Political positions held[edit]

His curriculum vitae on the European Parliament webpage and the Finnish Parliament webpage list the following:[16][17]

  • Pre-university school-leaving certificate (1981)
  • Master of Political Science (1988)
  • Youth League of Developing Finland, special correspondent of Suomen Uutiset (1983–89)
  • Vice-Chair, Finnish Rural Party (1989–92)
  • Party Secretary, Finnish Rural Party (1992–95)
  • Chair, True Finns (1997–present)
  • Member of the Finnish Parliament (2003–2009, 2011-)
  • Member of the European Parliament (2009–2011)
  • Member of Espoo City Council (since 2001)
  • Member of Espoo City Board (2007–08)
  • Member, Legal Affairs Committee of the Finnish Parliament (2003–07); substitute member, Grand Committee of the Finnish Parliament (2003–07); member, Grand Committee of the Finnish Parliament (2007–09); substitute member, Legal Affairs Committee of the Finnish Parliament (2007–09)
  • Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee of the Finnish Parliament (2011-); substitute member, Grand Committee of the Finnish Parliament (2011-)

Views[edit]

Climate change[edit]

In January 2011 Soini called for Finland to quit all international climate change agreements. According to him, emission trading is a major financial crime in Europe. The European Union Emission Trading Scheme was introduced in 2005. Soini wanted to cancel all recent additions to the energy and environmental taxes. He used the expression: "Green taxes are like shooting yourself in the foot". Soini was criticised for acting as a brake on climate change solutions by MP Oras Tynkkynen, a Green focusing on climate policy, and for calling Finland the North Korea of climate policy by MP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, a Social Democrat.[18]

According to Timo Soini he worked on the party's climate policy program for one and a half years. The published program was copied almost word by word from a year old document of the Metal Union written by Matti Putkonen, a former Metal Union employee now working for the Finns Party.[19]

Religion and morals[edit]

Timo Soini is a practicing Catholic. His views on religious and moral issues are in line with the teaching of the Catholic Church, including on abortion, homosexuality and priestesses.[20] Soimi converted to Roman Catholicism from Lutheranism in 1988.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://www.hs.fi/english/article/bSUNDAY+NIGHTb+True+Finns+and+Greens+advance+in+European+Parliament+elections+as+big+parties+suffer/1135246579175
  2. ^ "Nationalist True Finns make gains in Finland vote". BBC News. 18 April 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Helsingin Sanomat, April 18 2011, 'SUNDAY EVENING : ELECTION SPECIAL'
  4. ^ a b YLE - Soini nousi äänikuninkaaksi, 17.4.2011
  5. ^ YLE - Uusimaa - Ehdokkaiden äänimäärät, 18.4.2011
  6. ^ a b Helsingin Sanomat, April 18 2011, 'EDITORIAL: Timo Soini rewrote the electoral history books'
  7. ^ The Wall Street Journal, 9 May 2011
  8. ^ a b http://www.eduskunta.fi/triphome/bin/hx5000.sh?${APPL}=hetekaue&${BASE}=hetekaue&${THWIDS}=1.13/1321812793_353633&${oohtml}=hex/hx3510&${html}=hex/hx3510&${snhtml}=hex/hxnosynk
  9. ^ Note: Finland has universal male conscription, with most men serving either six, nine or twelve months and then transferring to the Reserve.
  10. ^ "Political elite have 'abandoned ordinary people'". Offaly Express. Johnston Publishing Ltd. 23 September 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2011. "LABOUR Party leaders are a prime example of the political elite who have abandoned ordinary people," said MEP Timo Soini, Bureau Leader of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group who are distributing the new Lisbon information leaflet in Ireland. Finnish MEP Timo Soini, who was in Dublin on Friday to explain the EFD leaflet said on Monday night, "Eamon Gilmore is a prime example of Labour hypocrisy and treachery over Lisbon. Eamon Gilmore said the day after the June 2008 referendum: 'People have made a decision. "The Lisbon Treaty cannot now be ratified. And I think that the decision that has been made by the Irish people has got to be respected by everybody.' Yet now he is campaigning for it. Not much respect there." 
  11. ^ http://www.iltasanomat.fi/kotimaa/Timo%20Soini%20Naispappeus%20ajoi%20minut%20katolilaiseksi/art-1288335028268.html
  12. ^ http://areena.yle.fi/video/1301603590451 Vaalit 2011: Neljä suurta tentissä[dead link]
  13. ^ Jackson, Patrick (17 April 2011). "Profile: Finland's Timo Soini". BBC News (BBC). Retrieved 14 July 2011. "Massive gains for a massive man - the nationalist True Finns' shock election result in the 2011 Finnish general election befits the burly figure of their leader, Timo Soini. And there is much brain to go with the brawn, according to journalists who have followed his party's advance from the margins of politics - from just 4.1% of the vote in 2007 to about 19% four years later. "He draws a crowd like flypaper catches flies," one voter, who planned to keep her vote for the mainstream Social Democrats, told AFP news agency after watching him at the stump in the industrial town of Pori. "He is a very good talker in a way that speaks to common people and makes complicated things look very easy," according to Jan Sundberg, a professor at Helsinki University." 
  14. ^ Patrick Jackson (17 April 2011). "Profile: Finland's Timo Soini". BBC. 
  15. ^ a b BBC News, 17 April 2011: 'Profile: Finland's Timo Soini'
  16. ^ "Timo Soini's official biography". European Parliament. Retrieved 8 April 2011. 
  17. ^ http://www.eduskunta.fi/triphome/bin/hx5000.sh?{hnro}=767&{kieli}=su&{haku}=kaikki
  18. ^ Soini vaatii energia- ja ilmastopolitiikkaan täysremonttia yle 28.1.2011 (Finnish)
  19. ^ Soini: Nyt ei parane miettiä, mikä on noloa ja mikä ei yle 4.2.2011
  20. ^ Timo Soini: Naispappeus ajoi minut katolilaiseksi Ilta-Sanomat. 24.9.2009. Sanoma News Oy (Finnish)
  21. ^ [1]

External links[edit]