Veteran Centre Party politician Paavo Väyrynen is to found his own political party. He made the announcement on Thursday afternoon via his website.
The new group, called the Citizens’ Party (Kansalaispuolue), will first have to gather 5,000 signatures before it can be officially registered.
Väyrynen says that the party’s main goal will be to take Finland out of the single European currency. That is consistent with his long-standing euroscepticism, and his frustration at his own inability to influence the Centre Party or the government in recent years.
In July 2015 he launched a citizens' initiative to force a referendum on Finnish eurozone membership. It passed the 50,000 threshold for consideration by MPs and is now working its way through parliament.
His credentials as an opponent of European integration are impeccable. He filibustered a debate on entry to the EU, delaying Finland’s referendum until after Sweden had voted, and has since urged Finns to take a sceptical line on all things European.
That has not prevented him taking up roles as an MEP, a post in which he currently serves. He was also elected to the Finnish parliament but declined to take up the Brussels seat—he now says he will return to the domestic arena as well as serving as a Citizens’ Party MEP.
Väyrynen said he encouraged Centre Party people to remain in the party and change the party’s policy lines, rather than defecting.
The new party was first reported by Maaseudun Tulevaisuus.