Pekka Haavisto has unsurprisingly been selected as the new chairperson of the Green League.
Haavisto, a co-founder, ex-chairperson and two-time presidential candidate of the opposition party, received a strong mandate to lead the party after winning 40 of the 41 votes cast by members of its party council in Helsinki on Saturday.
The only other candidate in the leadership election was Outi Alanko-Kahiluoto, an ex-chairperson of the Green Parliamentary Group.
“The circumstances in which we head towards next spring’s parliamentary and European elections are unusual. I’m very humbled to take on this duty,” commented Haavisto.
The Green League, he added later, should seek to establish itself as one of the three largest parties in the country in the next parliamentary elections in order to ensure it has a seat in the coalition formation negotiations.
“Whenever you’re in the government it’s natural to start wishing you were in the opposition and got to say what you really think about things, but after you’ve been saying what you think about things for four years in the opposition, you realise that you can’t make too big of a difference,” stated Haavisto.
The next government may have to weigh up two permit applications for nuclear power plants due to the expiry of the permits of the two plants of Fortum in Loviisa in 2027 and 2030.
Haavisto on Saturday declined to speculate on the permit applications on behalf of the Green League. He reminded, however, that the opposition party has abandoned the government twice due to nuclear power-related questions.
“I’m sure all these energy policy questions will be on the table when you’re making the government programme and having the coalition formation talks, but I won’t rush into saying one thing or the other for the Greens. But we’ve left the government twice due to nuclear power decisions,” he highlighted.
He also refrained from speculating on the composition of the next government and the distribution of ministerial portfolios, saying only that the Social Democrats has a particularly good position in opinion polls.
Haavisto has already declared that he is only prepared to lead the opposition party until its next party conference in June 2019. The Green League will therefore elect a new chairperson no more than two months after the parliamentary elections, which are scheduled to take place on 14 April 2019.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi