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Centre Party confirms resignation of patriarch Paavo Väyrynen

A decision by the local Centre Party chapter in Keminmaa to quit the national group means that Paavo Väyrynen is also departing his post as honorary chair.

Europarlamentaarikko Paavo Väyrynen.
Europarlamentaarikko Paavo Väyrynen. Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

The Centre Party's secretary Jouni Ovaska announced on Thursday that political evergreen Paavo Väyrynen is no longer a member of the party.

“Väyrynen is chair of the Keminmaa party chapter. He has informed the party leadership that this Centre Party chapter is terminating its membership. As a result, his membership in the party will also end. The party has noted this information. And that’s that,” Ovaska said.

Väyrynen’s resignation also means that he will no longer hold the post of honorary chair of the Centre Party. A proposal by party leadership for its annual congress notes that Väyrynen has renounced membership in the party, as well as the post of honorary chair.

“The party congress will declare that Paavo Väyrynen’s honorary chairmanship will be deemed to have ended according to his notification. The party currently has no honorary chair,” the statement continued. Party leaders have no plans to appoint a new honorary chair.

Colourful recent history

Paavo Väyrynen’s last few years in politics have been quite eventful. After raising no eyebrows by winning a seat in his local Keminmaa municipality during the general election of 2015, he was passed over for a ministerial portfolio by rookie prime minister Juha Sipilä. In 2016, he withdrew from high-ranking positions in the Centre party and established his own Citizens’ Party.

He made another grab for the spotlight during this year’s presidential elections, running as a nominee of a voters’ association and polling a decent two percent of the vote. In an unexpected turn, he was expelled from the Citizens’ Party in March over alleged misuse of party funds, shortly after he had signalled an intention to challenge Juha Sipilä for leadership of the Centre during its annual convention during the summer.

Just one month later in April, Väyrynen withdrew that challenge, saying that he still had the option of returning to the Citizen’s Party. Väyrynen will return to Parliament in June to vote against the government’s flagship social and healthcare reform programme, colloquially known as "sote."

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