Thursday 19 October 2017

Portrait of the Week - ‘Moderation’ is the word as politics shift in Europe

'People want profound changes but also want to keep what is working, like the welfare system, a productive economy, the Constitution, Europe or the Euro'

AFTER THE ELECTION: A supporter takes a selfie of himself and Centre Party chairman Juha Sipila in Helsinki last week
AFTER THE ELECTION: A supporter takes a selfie of himself and Centre Party chairman Juha Sipila in Helsinki last week

Portrait of the Week

A millionaire former telecoms executive touted as a technocrat capable of rescuing Finland from economic slump won Sunday's parliamentary election, but he will likely need coalition support from a second-placed Eurosceptic party critical of any more Greek bailouts.

Opposition Centre Party leader Juha Sipila, who advocates a wage freeze and spending cuts to regain Finland's competitiveness, beat pro-EU and pro-NATO Prime Minister Alexander Stubb after four years of policy stagnation and a bickering coalition.

"Three years ago, we were seen as a sunset movement, but not anymore," Sipila said in a speech to his cheering party members. "Finland is in a very difficult situation. We need exceptional degrees of cooperation so that we can overcome the difficulties."

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