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Rural Party of Finland

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Rural Party of Finland

Finnish Rural Party
Suomen Maaseudun Puolue
Founded 1959
Dissolved 1995 (de facto)
2003 (de jure)
Succeeded by True Finns (de facto)
Headquarters Helsinki
Ideology Centrism, Nordic agrarianism,
Populism
International affiliation None
European affiliation None
European Parliament group None
Politics of Finland
Political parties
Elections

The Finnish Rural Party (Finnish: Suomen maaseudun puolue, SMP; Swedish: Finlands landsbygdsparti, FLP) was a Finnish populist party. Starting out as a breakaway faction of the Agrarian League in 1959, the party was identified with the person of Veikko Vennamo, a former Agrarian League Member of Parliament known for his opposition to the politics of President Urho Kekkonen. Vennamo was chairman of the Finnish Rural Party between 1959 and 1979.

The support for the Finnish Rural Party was at its highest in the 1970s and 1980s, with its share of the votes reaching around 10 percent in some parliamentary elections.[1] In the 1990s, the party fell into financial trouble, and was discontinued in 1995. The True Finns party is often seen as the successor of the Finnish Rural Party.

History

The founder of the Finnish Rural Party was Veikko Vennamo, leader of a faction in the Agrarian League (which was renamed Centre Party in 1965). The relations of Veikko Vennamo and the Agrarian League's strong man Urho Kekkonen were icy at best, and after Kekkonen was elected president in 1956 Vennamo ran into serious disagreement with the party secretary, Arvo Korsimo, and was excluded from the parliamentary group. As a result, he immediately founded his own party in 1959.

The Finnish Rural Party started as a protest movement, with support from the unemployed and small farmers.[2] The state-sponsored resettlement of veterans of World War II and evacuees from ceded Karelia into independent small farms provided an independent power base to Vennamo. Vennamo was the honorary chairman of Asutusliitto, the resettler society, and the society was involved in early campaigning. For the newly founded party, the main carrying force was Vennamo, who was charismatic, a good orator and a skilled negotiator.

The Rural Party won in its best showing 18 seats in the Finnish parliament (which has 200 seats) in the 1970 election. Veikko Vennamo's son, Pekka Vennamo, became the party leader when his father retired in the 1980s. Vennamo Junior had neither the charisma nor the oratorical skills of his father. Other parties noticed this, and the Rural Party was taken into the cabinet in 1983. As a protest movement without a charismatic leader, burdened with ministers participating in unpopular coalitions, the party gradually lost political support.

Agricultural changes proved hard for small farmers, who sold their farms and moved to the cities. The Social Democratic Party was seen as a more credible alternative for the unemployed. Finally, the declining support of the Rural Party forced Vennamo Junior to resign. Some of the party's former MPs joined the Centre Party or retired with Vennamo. The party's last chairman and MP Raimo Vistbacka (the only one elected in 1995) was among the founders of True Finns and became that party's first MP and chairman. The Rural Party's last party secretary Timo Soini likewise became the True Finns' first party secretary. With the True Finns' electoral success in the 2011 election three former Rural Party MPs returned to the parliament as True Finns MPs (Anssi Joutsenlahti, Lea Mäkipää, Pentti Kettunen).

Prominent Ruralists

Chairmen

  • Veikko Vennamo (1959–1979)
  • Pekka Vennamo (1979–1989)
  • Heikki Riihijärvi (1989–1991)
  • Tina Mäkelä (1991–1992)
  • Raimo Vistbacka (1992–1995)

Party Secretaries

  • Köpi Luoma 1959–1960
  • Eino Poutiainen 1961–1970
  • Rainer Lemström 1970–1972 ja 1977–1979
  • Urpo Leppänen 1972–1977 ja 1979–1984
  • Aaro Niiranen 1984−1989
  • Tina Mäkelä 1989–1991
  • Reijo Rinne 1991−1992
  • Timo Soini 1992–1995

Deputy Chairpersons

  • Tauno Lääperi 1959–?
  • Aarne Jokela 1959–?
  • Rainer Lemström 1. 1976–1977
  • Aune Rutonen 2. 1976–1982
  • Eino Poutiainen 1977–1979
  • Niilo Salpakari 1980–1982
  • Leo Lassila 1982–1983
  • Helvi Koskinen 1982–1985
  • Kalle Palosaari 1. 1983–1988
  • Lea Mäkipää 2. 1985–
  • Timo Soini 1. 1991–1992[3]
  • Toivo Satomaa 2. 1991–[3]
  • Marja-Leena Leppänen[4]
  • Jouko Kröger[4]

Chairpersons of the parliamentary group

  • J. Juhani Kortesalmi (1979–1983, 1986–1987)
  • Veikko Vennamo (1983–1986)
  • Heikki Riihijärvi (1987)
  • Urpo Leppänen (1987–1988)
  • Sulo Aittoniemi (1988–1994)
  • Lea Mäkipää (1994–1995)
  • Raimo Vistbacka (1995)

Party Congresses

  • Perustava kokous 9.2.1959 Pieksämäki
  • 1. puoluekokous 29.–30.1959 Kiuruvesi
  • 2. puoluekokous 3.–4.9.1960 Joensuu
  • 3. puoluekokous 4.–5.8.1961 Jyväskylä
  • 4. puoluekokous 16.–17.6.1962 Pieksämäki
  • 5. puoluekokous 15.–16.6.1963 Seinäjoki
  • 6. puoluekokous 13.–14.6.1964 Kuopio
  • 7. puoluekokous 12.–13.6.1965 Oulu
  • 8. puoluekokous 13.–14.8.1966 Tampere
  • ylimääräinen puoluekokous 29.10.1966 Helsinki
  • 9. puoluekokous 5.–6.8.1967 Helsinki
  • 10. puoluekokous 3.–4.8.1968 Kajaani
  • 11. puoluekokous 16.–17.8.1969 Pori
  • 12. puoluekokous ?.8.1970 Lahti
  • 13. puoluekokous 7.–8.8.1971 Oulu
  • 14. puoluekokous 12.8.1972 Kouvola
  • 15. puoluekokous 4.–5.8.1973 Mikkeli
  • 16. puoluekokous 3.–4.8.1974 Turku
  • 17. puoluekokous 1975 Jyväskylä
  • 18. puoluekokous 7.–8.8.1976 Joensuu
  • 19. puoluekokous 6.–7.8.1977 Oulu
  • 20. puoluekokous 5.–6.8.1978 Tampere
  • 21. puoluekokous 4.–5.8.1979 Pori
  • 22. puoluekokous 1.–3.8.1980 Lahti
  • 23. puoluekokous 7.–9.8.1981 Seinäjoki
  • 24. puoluekokous 6.–8.8.1982 Lappeenranta
  • 25. puoluekokous 5.–7.8.1983 Kuopio
  • 26. puoluekokous 3.–5.8.1984 Turku
  • 27. puoluekokous 2.–4.8.1985 Hyvinkää
  • 28. puoluekokous 8.–10.8.1986 Jyväskylä
  • 29. puoluekokous 7.–9.8.1987 Oulu
  • 30. puoluekokous 5.–7.8.1988 Lahti
  • 33. puoluekokous 4.–5.8.1991 Turku[3]
  • 34. puoluekokous 1.8.1993 Mikkeli[5]
  • 35. puoluekokous 3.–4.7.1994 Oulu[4]

[6][7]

Election results

Parliamentary elections

Year MPs Votes Share of votes
1962 0 49,773 2.2%
1966 1 24,351 1.0%
1970 18 265,939 10.5%
1972 18 236,206 9.2%
1975 2 98,815 3.6%
1979 7 132,457 4.6%
1983 17 288,711 9.7%
1987 9 181,938 6.3%
1991 7 132,133 4.9%
1995 1 36,185 1.3%

Local council (municipal) elections

Year Councillors Votes Share of votes
1960 359 52,524 2.7%
1964 30,683 1.4%
1968 910 165,139 7.3%
1972 646 125,061 5.0%
1976 245 56,091 2.1%
1980 348 83,265 3.0%
1984 639 142,474 5.3%
1988 453 95,258 3.6%
1992 354 64,880 2.4%

Presidential elections

Electoral college elections
Year Candidate Votes for SMP electors Share of votes
1968 Veikko Vennamo 231,282 11.4%
1978 Veikko Vennamo 114,488 4.7%
1982 Veikko Vennamo 71,947 2.3%
1988 Mauno Koivisto (SDP candidate, also supported by SMP) 120,043 4.0%
Direct elections
Year Candidate Votes Share of votes
1994 Sulo Aittoniemi 30 622 (first round) 1.0% (first round)

Sources

External links

  • The New Radical Right Taking Shape in Finland, Kyösti Pekonen, Pertti Hynynen and Mari Kalliala; accessed 26 March 2011.
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