News |

Communists elect gay artist as new leader

The Communist Party of Finland has not had any seats in Parliament since a bankruptcy two decades ago.

Finland’s tiny Communist Party has elected a new chair, an openly gay artist Juha-Pekka Väisänen. 

Väisänen, a 46-year-old member of the Helsinki City Council, previously served as party secretary. He is also chair of the Finnish chapter of PAND, an international artists’ peace group.

He succeeds a fellow Helsinki councillor, Yrjö Hakanen, 60, who announced earlier this year that he would step down.

Hakanen has led the party since 1994, when it re-established itself after filing for bankruptcy in 1992. It was originally established in 1918, just after Finnish independence.

Municipal councillors, but no MPs

The party has not held any seats in Parliament for more than 20 years. It does have representatives on about 10 municipal councils, including Helsinki, Jyväskylä and Tampere. The Left Alliance, which is currently in government, has refused to cooperate with the Communists.

The party claims some 2500 members.

The party congress in Vantaa chose two deputy chairs, Emmi Tuomi of Helsinki and Pauli Schradrin from the town of Nokia, near Tampere.

Väisänen is not Finland’s first openly homosexual party chair, as Pekka Haavisto led the Green League from 1993 to 1995.

Other party chairs re-elected

This weekend the leaders of the Left Alliance and another government party, the Swedish People's Party, were re-elected as expected. Paavo Arhinmäki was returned for another three-year term at the helm of the Left Alliance, while Carl Haglund earned another stint as head of the Swedish People's Party.

Latest in: News



Finance Minister flubs figures on investment regulation, opposition questions his credibility

Earlier this week on the floor of Parliament, Minister of Finance Alexander Stubb claimed that 90 percent of the civil servant experts consulted supported the coalition government’s plans to open up Finland’s securities custody to competition. In reality, the daily Helsingin Sanomat found that of the 21 officials asked to weigh in on the issue, 10 opposed it, nine refused to take a stand and two supported it – leaving the actual support percentage at less than 10 percent.

Our picks