Another hat enters the ring in the Left Alliance party chair race

Left Alliance Party Chair Paavo Arhinmäki announced late last year that he will give up his post in summer 2016, after seven years at the helm. MP Jari Myllykoski has already said that he would stand as a candidate to succeed him, and he has now been joined by the party’s parliamentary chair Aino-Kaisa Pekonen in the race.

Aino-Kaisa Pekonen
Aino-Kaisa Pekonen Image: Antti Ruonaniemi / Yle

Chair of the Left Alliance parliamentary group and Member of Parliament Aino-Kaisa Pekonen has announced that she will be in the running for her left-wing party’s chair position, making her the second person to confirm their candidacy.

Paavo Arhinmäki announced in November that he will end his seven-year run as party chair next summer at the Left Alliance party congress, saying the party needs new leadership and shouldn’t be tied to a single figurehead.

Pekonen says she feels it is important that those with an interest in leading the party in future know the party and the people out in the field well.

“On the other hand, now that Paavo Arhinmäki announced that he will be stepping down, it seemed quite natural to step up [as a candidate]. I wouldn’t have gone up against Arhinmäki’s leadership position,” Pekonen said.

Pekonen is in her second term as a Left Alliance MP from the Häme election district. She also serves as the party’s first deputy chair. She is a second generation Left Alliance affiliate, as her parents are both Left Alliance representatives on the Riihimäki city council. Her brother is the popular actor and comedian Aku Hirviniemi.

Pekonen joins MP Jari Myllykoski as an official candidate for the party chair position, but MPs Li Andersson, Hanna Sarkkinen and Katja Hänninen are also said to be considering running.  In the 2015 Finnish parliamentary election, the party got 7.1 percent of the vote, translating into 12 seats in the parliament.

The Left Alliance will organise an advisory membership vote on the chair position before the summer meeting is held, now that more than one candidate is running for the chair position.

The daily Helsingin Sanomat was the first to report Pekonen’s candidacy.

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