Timo Soini

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Timo Soini
Timo Soini 2015.JPG
Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
29 May 2015 – 6 June 2019
Prime MinisterJuha Sipilä
Preceded byErkki Tuomioja
Succeeded byPekka Haavisto
32nd Deputy Prime Minister of Finland
In office
29 May 2015 – 28 June 2017
Prime MinisterJuha Sipilä
Preceded byAntti Rinne
Succeeded byPetteri Orpo
President of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe
In office
21 November 2018 – 17 May 2019
Preceded byMarija Pejčinović Burić
Succeeded byJean-Yves Le Drian
Leader of the Finns Party
In office
Preceded byRaimo Vistbacka
Succeeded byJussi Halla-aho
Personal details
Timo Juhani Soini

(1962-05-30) 30 May 1962 (age 60)
Rauma, Finland
Political partyBlue Reform (2017–present)
Other political
Finns Party (1995–2017)
Finnish Rural Party (1979–1995)
Alma materUniversity of Helsinki
WebsiteOfficial website
Military service
Allegiance Finland
Branch/serviceFinnish Army
RankAlikersantti hihalaatta.svg Corporal

Timo Juhani Soini (born 30 May 1962) is a Finnish politician who is the co-founder and former leader of the Finns Party. He served as Deputy Prime Minister of Finland from 2015 to 2017 and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2015 to 2019.[1]

He was elected as 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 member of the Finns Party in the European Parliament.[2][3] He was a member of the European Parliament from 2009 until 2011, when he returned to the Finnish Parliament.

In the 2011 parliamentary election, his party won 19.1% of the votes, which was described as "shocking" and "exceptional" by the Finnish media.[4] Soini himself won the most votes of all candidates,[5] leaving behind the Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb and the Minister of Finance Jyrki Katainen in their Uusimaa electoral district.[6] Helsingin Sanomat concluded that "Timo Soini rewrote the electoral history books".[7]

Soini has become one of the internationally best-known critics of European Union bailouts and safety mechanisms.[citation needed] Following the 2015 parliamentary election, his party joined a coalition government and Soini became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in May 2015. In March 2017 Soini announced that he would step down as Chair of the Finns Party in June 2017,[8] causing a hotly contested leadership election. After the selection of Jussi Halla-aho as new party chairman – prompting a break between Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and the Finns Party – Soini declared his intention to form a new parliamentary group and remain in the government, causing a split in the party.[9] Soini was subsequently expelled from the party along with the other defector MPs.[10]

Soini did not take part in the 2019 parliamentary election and announced soon after the election that he was leaving politics behind.[11]

Family and 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 with a Master of Political Science from the University of Helsinki in 1988, majoring in political theory.

His military rank is Corporal.[12][13] 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).[14] He was also influenced by the pope's anti-communism and anti-atheism.[15] Soini has also publicly announced that he is a cordial friend of the state of Israel.[16] According to the BBC, Soini is "a die-hard supporter" of English football club Millwall FC.[17] Soini currently lives in the Kaitaa district of Espoo, in the Greater Helsinki area, and he has resided in the same apartment block since 1968.[18] He is married and has two children.[12]

Political career[edit]

Soini in a debate with NCP leader and Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen (left) and SPP leader Carl Haglund (right) in 2014.

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 (later the 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.

2011 parliamentary election[edit]

The Finns Party 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.[5] 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".[7] According to the BBC, behind Soini's success was "brain, wit and charisma".[19] A university professor and a political analyst, Mr. Jan Sundberg, pointed to Soini's oratorical skills and ability to appeal to common people and make complicated things look easy.[19] The election result was also referred to as "shocking" and "exceptional".[4] During the government negotiations following the election the Finns Party decided against participating in Katainen's coalition cabinet, citing greatly differing stances on the EU, especially regarding bailouts for debt-ridden euro countries.

2015 parliamentary election[edit]

The Finns Party obtained 38 seats in the 2015 election, becoming second biggest party after Center Party. Coalition negotiations began on 8 May between Center Party, Finns Party and National Coalition Party.[20] Soini joined the government as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs.[21]

Positions held[edit]

His curriculum vitae on the European Parliament webpage and the Finnish Parliament webpage list the following:[22][23]

  • 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, The Finns Party (1997–present)
  • Member of the Finnish Parliament (2003–2009, 2011–2019)
  • 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 (2011–2015); substitute member, Grand Committee of the Finnish Parliament (2011–2015)
  • Deputy Prime Minister (2015–2017)
  • Minister for Foreign Affairs (2015–2019)

Relationship with the United States[edit]

Soini with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

He has frequently visited the United States and received invitations to several establishment meetings, such as National Prayer Breakfast hosted by President Barack Obama.[24][25][26] He has also commented on European affairs in the American conservative media, for example on Fox News.[27][28] In Finland Soini has also been seen hosting senior American politicians, such as the conservative former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann in April 2014.[29]


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.[30]

According to 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.[31]


Soini is a practising Catholic. His views on religious and moral issues include opposition to abortion, homosexuality and the ordination of women as priests.[32] Soini converted to Roman Catholicism from Lutheranism in 1988.[33]


In May 2018, Soini, as a Catholic, criticized the Irish abortion referendum, despite the Sipilä Cabinet and the official position of the Finnish government to support abortion rights.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland - Ministers of Foreign Affairs". Valtioneuvosto.fi. Archived from the original on 14 February 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 April 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Nationalist Finns Party make gains in Finland vote". BBC News. 18 April 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Helsingin Sanomat, April 18 2011, 'SUNDAY EVENING : ELECTION SPECIAL'". Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Soini nousi äänikuninkaaksi". Yle Uutiset. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  6. ^ "Vaalit 2011". Yle Uutiset. Archived from the original on 28 May 2013. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Helsingin Sanomat, April 18 2011, 'EDITORIAL: Timo Soini rewrote the electoral history books'". Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  8. ^ Soini announces he will not continue at Finns Party helm Yle News on 5 March 2017. Retrieved on 12 March 2017.
  9. ^ "Sannfinländare bryter sig loss – delar partiet - DN.SE". 13 June 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Jussi Halla-aho hämmentävän viikon jälkeen: "Ystävyyssuhteet kovalla koetuksella"". 16 June 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  11. ^ Pekonen, Juha-Pekka (18 April 2019). "Timo Soini jättää politiikan". Helsingin Sanomat. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Eduskunta - edustajamatrikkeli". Retrieved 24 February 2015.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Note: Finland has universal male conscription, with most men serving either six, nine or twelve months and then transferring to the Reserve.
  14. ^ "Political elite have 'abandoned ordinary people'". Offaly Express. Johnston Publishing Ltd. 23 September 2009. Archived from the original on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
  15. ^ IS. "Timo Soini: Naispappeus ajoi minut katolilaiseksi". Ilta-Sanomat. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  16. ^ http://areena.yle.fi/video/1301603590451 Vaalit 2011: Neljä suurta tentissä Archived 5 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ 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 Finns Party's 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.
  18. ^ Patrick Jackson (17 April 2011). "Profile: Finland's Timo Soini". BBC.
  19. ^ a b "BBC News - Profile: Finland's Timo Soini". BBC News. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  20. ^ "Kolmen ässän humppa – seuraa hallitusohjelmavääntöä Smolnassa hetki hetkeltä". Yle. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  21. ^ Tanner, Jari (29 May 2015). "EU-Skeptic Finns Party Joins Cabinet for 1st Time". Associated Press. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  22. ^ "Timo Soini's official biography". European Parliament. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  23. ^ "Eduskunta - edustajamatrikkeli". Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  24. ^ "Soini inbjuden till bönefrukost med Obama". Hbl.fi - Finlands ledande nyhetssajt på svenska. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  25. ^ Anna Nuutinen. "Timo Soini sai kutsun Obaman rukousaamiaiselle - "Voi saada uutta ideaakin"". Ilta-Sanomat. Archived from the original on 28 January 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  26. ^ "Finns Party picks newcomer as parliamentary chair". Yle Uutiset. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  27. ^ Helsingin Sanomat, 4 November 2011, 'Soini esitteli Kreikka-kantojaan Fox Newsin haastattelussa'
  28. ^ "Video: Finns Timo Soini on Fox News, talks about EU Bank bail out for Greece". Archived from the original on 6 November 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  29. ^ "Erikoisen mukava päivä". Timo Soini. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  30. ^ Soini vaatii energia- ja ilmastopolitiikkaan täysremonttia yle 28.1.2011 (in Finnish)
  31. ^ Soini: Nyt ei parane miettiä, mikä on noloa ja mikä ei yle 4.2.2011
  32. ^ Timo Soini: Naispappeus ajoi minut katolilaiseksi Ilta-Sanomat. 24.9.2009. Sanoma News Oy (in Finnish)
  33. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 May 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  34. ^ NCP MPs chide foreign minister’s criticism of Irish abortion vote YLE TV NEWS 28.5.2018

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Leader of the Finns Party
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Deputy Prime Minister of Finland
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by