In a Facebook post on Sunday, the Seven Star Movement, launched by 72-year-old independent MP Paavo Väyrynen, announced that it had received 5000 formal voter endorsements. This now makes it eligible to begin the process of registering as a political party.
The group coupled the statement with an appeal for more backers for the project to provide a buffer if some of the endorsements are rejected during an upcoming official audit.
Väyrynen, a former chair and ex-honorary chairman of the Centre Party, intends to file cards signed by supporters with the Ministry of Justice early this week. He said he believes that the Seven Star Movement may get on the official parties registry before Christmas.
He has announced that he will stand as a Seven Star Movement candidate in April's parliamentary election. It is not yet known if he will be seeking a seat in his native Lapland, or in the southern Uusimaa region.
Paavo Väyrynen has had a long and varied career in Finnish politics. Beginning in 1970, he has served numerous terms in Parliament, in cabinet posts, as an MEP, as chair of the Centre Party and three-time presidential candidate.
In 2016, he withdrew from high-ranking positions in the Centre party, resigning membership last spring, and established his own Citizens’ Party.
He was expelled from that party last March over allegations of the misuse of bank accounts and election funds. In November, Helsinki District Court ruled that the Citizens’ Party acted illegally by dismissing him from its ranks.
Väyrynen set up the Seven Star Movement in July to make sure that the then-pending lawsuit would not block a run in next year’s election.