Christian Democrats for Coalition

The Christian Democrats' former party secretary Annika Kokko switched over to the National Coalition Party. Coalition-affiliated Verkkouutiset carried an interview (fi) with her in which she explained her motivation. She was disappointed when Päivi Räsänen replace Bjarne Kallis as party leader. She had thought that the party was heading toward an European-style Christian Democratic approach, but under Räsänen the development stopped. According to Kokko, the party focuses too much on Christian values at the expense of policies - religion instead of politics.

Räsänen counters (fi) that she believes Kokko switched due to the manner in which Sari Essayah was chosen as the new party secretary in the spring. Kokko didn't enter the race after Räsänen refused to endorse her candidacy.

Be that as it may, the Christ Dems have lost several well-known politicians to the Coalition in recent years, most notably Eija-Riitta Korhola MEP and Lyly Rajala MP. It's somewhat curious that they've headed for the Coalition instead of the Centre Party. On the face of it, the Centre would seem like reasonable destination for your average Christian Democrat - not as right-wing on economic questions as the Coalition, but slightly more socially conservative. It's possible that the elopers can't abide the Centre's regionalism, or that the Coalition's label of being the conservative party overrides its actual policies.

As for the Christian Democrats, I can't help but to think that it's a bit naïve for anyone in politics to believe that they are or will soon be Christian Democratic in the same way as e.g. the German Christian Democrats. The party exists mainly to advance the religious point of view in certain hot button issues. It will remain that way for the foreseeable future simply because the space occupied by Christian Democratic parties in Central Europe is already taken by the Coalition and the Centre.

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