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Soini and SDP contest workers’ support

The Social Democratic Party’s recent ministerial changes, which tipped the gender balance and created a female-majority cabinet, brought strong criticism from Finns party leader Timo Soini. He claimed the party had abandoned working-class men. Soini's comments provoked a strong response from the SDP.

Jouni Backman said he was annoyed with Timo Soini's criticism of the SDP's ministerial choices. Image: Yle

"Working men don’t interest the left," Soini claimed. "The collapse in support for the left stems from the fact that those who bake the cake, workers and small businesspeople, are not defended enough."

Soini said that ministerial changes showed the SDP’s values, which he claims reflect a switch in emphasis away from defending male workers.

On Friday, party chair Jutta Urpilainen announced the departure of Jukka Gustafsson and Maria Guzenina-Richardson, to be replaced by Susanna Huovinen and Pia Virtanen in the government.

Soini’s views were condemned by Jouni Backman, who heads the Social Democrats’ parliamentary group.

"Soini wants to own the defence of workers, although his deeds are something quite different," said Backman, who cited the Finns Party’s actions when Parliament voted on removing the qualifying period for workers who take sick leave during their annual holidays.

In that vote, the Finns Party split with some MPs voting for and some against, while the SDP supported removing the qualifying period.

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