June 23. 2024. 12:54

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Finland’s Green Party Chair resigns


Maria Ohisalo, the Green Party Chair for the past four years, resigned at a press conference Tuesday, saying she is ready to take responsibility for the heavy electoral defeat.

In the elections on 2 April, the Green Party lost seven seats and saw its support melt from 11.5% down to 7%. Particularly painful was going from the biggest party in Helsinki to the third.

Before leading the Greens and serving as the interior minister and then environment minister, Ohisalo had a career in academia.

Coming from a less fortunate suburban background, Ohisalo studied food aid and homelessness for her doctoral work, which presumably played a role in the Greens turning more left when it comes to economic and social policy, ensuring it dropped some of its ‘Green’ identity with which it could distinguish itself from the more traditional parties.

The Greens are now ”at a crossroads” and must ”reflect on its mission” under new leadership, Ohisalo also told the press conference Tuesday.

However, before the party’s new chair is elected in June, Ohisalo will lead the party in coalition negotiations starting Friday. The Greens could consider joining a government that would stick to climate and education promises and strive to combat inequality.

Saara Hyrkkö, Atte Harjanne, Oras Tynkkynen and Fatim Diarra are the four most probable candidates to follow in Ohisalo’s steed.

Many place their bets on Harjanne, currently Chair of the Green parliamentary group, though his positions somewhat differ from the party’s mainstream.

As a fervent supporter of NATO membership even before the war in Ukraine and opponent to nuclear energy, Harjanne, who has also championed a more market-oriented mindset compared to his party colleagues, the Greens could come away from the more left-wing path pushed for by Ohisalo, and steer more towards the centre and the right.

(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)