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Veteran politico Väyrynen leaving party he founded last summer

Paavo Väyrynen, who's been in politics nearly half a century, is still running for an MEP seat as a Seven Star Movement candidate.

Paavo Väyrynen
File photo of Paavo Väyrynen. Image: Mikko Stig / Lehtikuva

Veteran politician Paavo Väyrynen has announced that he is leaving the party he founded less than a year ago, the Seven Star Movement. The party confirmed his departure on Monday.

Väyrynen, who is running for an MEP seat said he will continue to lead the party until EU parliamentary elections are held later this month, but plans to step down from his position as chair.

According to the party, if Väyrynen is elected as an MEP he plans to join an Italian-based political group called the Five Star Movement.

Väyrynen has also previously said he's planning a run for Finnish president in 2024 on the Seven Star ticket, and the party supported those plans during its annual meeting.

However, if he does run for president, it's expected that Väyrynen will establish a new political movement in Finland.

"Every Finn should be able to support Väyrynen," the party said in a press release issued Monday.

Väyrynen established party last year

Väyrynen, who has nearly 50 years of experience in Finnish politics, started the Seven Star Movement last summer.

At the time he said he was creating the new party due to lawsuits involving the Citizens’ Party, which he also founded in 2016.

The party made headlines when the founder of an anti-immigrant website, Ilja Janitskin, announced he was running for both the Finnish and EU parliaments on the Seven Star Movement ticket.

Late last year, Janitskin was found guilty of 16 criminal charges related to his websites and handed a 22-month prison sentence by Helsinki District Court.

In the Finnish general election Janitskin received 390 votes and was not elected, and eventually dropped his bid for an MEP seat.

The future of the Seven Star Movement may become clearer following the party's board next meeting, which is scheduled on 27 May.

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