The National Coalition’s party secretary, Janne Pesonen, and chairperson, Petteri Orpo, reacted during the party’s election-night event in Helsinki on Sunday, 14 April 2019. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)

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THE NATIONAL COALITION will re-shuffle a couple of its key positions in preparation for the looming four-year stint in the opposition.

Janne Pesonen, the party secretary of the National Coalition, on Tuesday announced he will step down midway into his second, two-year term shouldering the bulk of the organisational responsibilities at the National Coalition.

Pesonen was re-elected as party secretary in September 2018. The party will appoint a successor to him in August. 

The National Coalition, he pointed out, emerged as the winner of two of the three elections that were organised over the past three years in Finland: the municipal elections held in April 2017 and the European elections held in May 2019.

“I can look back relatively satisfied – we had some great years and produced some results. The upcoming term in the opposition will require a different kind of party secretary and, given that there is plenty of time until the next elections, this is the best possible timing for making this change,” he argued in a press release on Tuesday.

The National Coalition fell to third place in the parliamentary elections held in Finland in April, finishing less than a percentage point behind both the Social Democrats and Finns Party.

“Janne Pesonen has done an excellent job as the organisational head of the National Coalition. His presence out in the field has been strong and he has led three difficult election campaigns. We express our heartfelt gratitude to Janne,” commented Petteri Orpo, the chairperson of the National Coalition.

Orpo also estimated that the role of the party secretary, as well as the general approach of the party, has to be re-thought in preparation for the next four years.

Kalle Jokinen, the chairperson of the National Coalition Parliamentary Group, has similarly announced he will not seek another term at the helm of the 37-member group. Verkkouutiset writes that Jokinen told Orpo about his decision not to run for re-election before the most recent parliamentary elections.

“I said I can take care of the transition stage at the helm of the group, but I’m not looking for a longer tenure,” he told.

Also Jokinen indicated that his decision to step down was influenced partly by the demands imposed by the upcoming stint in the opposition. He used an ice hockey analogy to explain the differences, saying the group leader of a ruling party should be a reliable defenceman and that of an opposition party a centre or forechecker.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi