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Antti Rinne may be running out of time to reverse the downward spiral of the Social Democratic Party, estimates Pertti Timonen, a political scientist at the University of Tampere.
Antti Rinne may be running out of time to reverse the downward spiral of the Social Democratic Party, estimates Pertti Timonen, a political scientist at the University of Tampere.

The Social Democratic Party has been unlucky with its recent leadership choices, says Pertti Timonen, an adjunct professor of political science at the University of Tampere.

The party, he points out, has according to a recent study on disparities in political participation seen its support rating plummet by nearly 10 percentage points among blue-collar workers, 14 percentage points among self-employed people, 11 percentage points among managerial staff members and 13 percentage points among business executives.

“The SDP is in danger of becoming the Anttila of politics,” he writes in a column for Aamulehti.

Both Jutta Urpilainen and her successor at the helm of the Social Democrats, Antti Rinne, endured slow starts to their tenures, the former losing momentum to the Finns Party and the latter to the Green League, highlights Timonen.

“As [Prime Minister] Juha Sipilä (Centre) was contemplating between the Social Democrats and National Coalition during coalition formation, it was to be predicted that neither Alexander Stubb (NCP) nor Antti Rinne (SDP) would be able to retain the post of chairperson for four years in the opposition. Stubb failed to do so even in the Government, and now the countdown seems to be on for Rinne,” he says.

“It is understandable that if a chairperson proves to be an obstacle to increasing the popularity of a party, as studies indicate has taken place in the case of Rinne, the chairperson should step down.”

Related posts:

- SDP scrambling to find a candidate to take on Rinne (21 July, 2016)

The Social Democratic Party is scheduled to convene for its next party conference in February to overhaul its platform.

Rumours circulating in the media, however, indicate that a leadership re-shuffle is also a possibility as long as a viable candidate to taken on the incumbent chairperson emerges. One of the deputy chairpersons of the party, Sanna Marin, told Uusi Suomi in July that her party comrades have enquired into her willingness to throw her hat in the ring.

“I'm not considering the issue,” she said.

Timonen points out that the plight of social democracy is evident also elsewhere in Europe.

“In Germany, the Social Democrats have been overrun by the Christian Democrats led by Chancellor Angela Merkel. In the terrorism-afflicted France, President François Hollande has been unable to rise up to the demands of the situation and establish himself as the father of the nation. In England, Jeremy Corbyn is at risk of sinking in the wake of Brexit despite the excitement that surrounded his appointment,” he reminds.

“Social democrats may not have invented globalisation, but the verdict at polling stations has been crushing.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Irene Stachon – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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