Then there were nine

If you've been trying to figure out who is the biggest no-hoper in the Social Democratic Party chair election, vacillating between Kimmo Kiljunen MP and Jouko Skinnari MP, you can stop now. Ilkka Kantola, a first term MP who became a Social Democrat in 2006 and is best known for having to give up his bishopric due to an affair, entered the race:

Ilkka Kantola, an MP since last year's general election and a former bishop, announced Tuesday he would stand as a party leader candidate at the Finnish Social Democrats' summer party conference.

Apparently someone made the mistake of joking to Kantola, "Why aren't you running for chairman? Hey, you could probably beat Pia Viitanen!"

Although Kantola's entry in the race has now changed everything, late last week YLE released a poll (fi) of Social Democrats according to which Erkki Tuomioja and Tarja Filatov are now tied at 27 and 28 percent, respectively. In other words, Filatov is a very good bet to win this thing.


egan said...

Filatov wrote a lovely letter to hufvudstadsbladet explaining that she does speak Swedish after all. Some old geezer had varied the usual 'I could not get served in my native tongue despite having ancestors in Finland I can trace back to 1537!' HBL letters page staple, saying he'd never heard Filatov speak Swedish and he wasn't sure if she could.

She said that she can speak Swedish but she isn't that confident with her 'school swedish', but she's improving it all the time and has had many fruitful discussions with her Swedish speaking colleagues.

Does she have a Russian background, btw?

TH said...

Filatov's kowtowing to the Swedofinns is embarassing. Why did she do that, it's not like the Swedish-speakers have any power in the SDP?

It's high time for Finland to ditch the fiction about Finns being a people with two languages. Swedish should have a legal status comparable to that of Sami (which is a lot more ancient in Finland) and the Roma language (which is about as ancient).

Filatov probably has some Russian background, Filatov is his father's name. She is of genuine working class background, too, with a blacksmith father and a seamstress mother, unlike the champagne socialist Tuomioja. (source)

egan said...

Well the kowtowing continues in today's edition, with a profile of the now Svensk-proficient Filatov accompanied by info boxes on all the candidates except the randy bishop.

Their self-awarded grades in Swedish were:

Koskinen 8
Miapetra 8+
Skinnari 'umgefar' 8
Tuomioja 9+ (show-off)
Urpilainen 7+
And Pia Viitanen did not give a grade but said she got laudatur in high school, presumably hoping that would remind everyone that she's really young and that wasn't so long ago.

Filatov and Kiljunen refused to grade themselves.

th: the point was that the SDP is officially a bilingual party, so they should be able to address concerns from their Swedish speaking members.

TH said...

Due to the pending election reform with its proposed four percent national vote threshold, it's possible that the Swedish People's Party will cease to be a force in national politics. The big parties are eager to snatch the Swedish-speaking vote.

TH said...

Or, more precisely, the big parties want to snatch the Swedish-speaking parliamentary election candidates.

Ari said...

the point was that the SDP is officially a bilingual party, so they should be able to address concerns from their Swedish speaking members.

Additionally, for a politician in the middle of an election campaign, there's no upside in not being polite and accommodating in a situation like this.

Anonymous said...

SDP/FSD is the second biggest party voted for by Swedish-speaking Finns after Sfp. Especially in towns areas, e.g. in Borgå, Hangö, Karis for example, FSD (Finlands Svenska Socialdemokrater) pick up a substantial number of the Swedish-speaking vote.