Saara-Sofia Sirén, MP from the Coalition Liberal wing, and Wille Rydman, from the Conservative wing, see the party’s situation differently. HS reported on Thursday an internal report by the party that the party has a large voter interface with basic Finns.
Coalition Party the situation has provoked widespread debate since HS reported on Thursday the party’s internal voter report.
It shows that the party has a large voter interface with basic Finns. The interface with greens occurs significantly only in Helsinki, and to some extent in some other large cities.
Chairman Petteri Orpo commented to the HS, saying that the party line will not change, but “the message will be clarified” and “the line will be sharpened”. According to Orpo, the Coalition Party cannot run after the results of voter polls, but must pursue a policy based on the party’s own values.
According to HS data, the Coalition leadership has decided to clarify the basic bourgeois, ie rather value-conservative, economic rightist message during the spring municipal elections. The communication will focus on issues such as motoring and tax evasion, security and the abuse of the social security system.
However, according to HS, the conclusions to be drawn from the voter report have also provoked controversy among the party leadership. Vice chairman Elina Lepomäki called the HS story In a Democrat “A futile and boring start to the day”.
Coalition Party the situation strongly divides views among key party politicians. Orpo admitted to HS on Thursday that the result of the voter vote has raised some concerns about whether the party’s line is changing.
Member of Parliament from Helsinki Wille Rydman says the Coalition should take the results of the voter vote seriously when considering its policy. Rydman represents the Conservative right wing of the party.
Rydman notes that there are different voters in all parties, and he does not consider the confrontation within the Coalition Party to be particularly sharp. The issues that divide voters also change over time.
However, he says there are tensions in the Coalition as to what kind of policy should be given weight.
“For just over the last ten years, there has been a kind of narrative within the party that there would be a very large mass of voters, drawing lots between the Greens and the Coalition. This perspective has received a lot of attention and a lot of effort has been put into the party’s strategic choices to reach such a group of voters. ”
According to Rydman, the reasons for such a particularly large electorate were not very strong at first.
“But especially a more recent closer analysis has shown that the rationale is even remarkably weak. The party’s strategic choices have placed a disproportionate emphasis on reaching a group that is by no means significant in terms of numbers. At the same time, the Coalition Party’s own bourgeois so-called loyal customer base has been strongly alienated. ”
Turku resident Saara-Sofia Sirén sees the situation in the party in a very different way. Sirén belongs to the value-liberal wing of the Coalition.
According to Sirén, there is nothing ambiguous in the Coalition Party’s line.
“We are in a really good position to have a fresh target program approved last fall. It determines the content of our policy and also the communication. ”
Orpo’s comment on clarifying the line is interpreted by Sirén as having to be clarified in relation to the party’s target program.
“It’s clear to ourselves what that line is. It still needs to be clarified on the outside. ”
Sirén says the Coalition has always accommodated people who think differently, and the party has still been successful.
“This has been the status quo for the Coalition for as long as the party has existed. The Coalition, as its name implies, brings together people who think differently, to promote common goals, ”says Sirén.
“We have managed to reconcile these different views because we as a party have common policies on different themes. The Coalition Party is the party that can offer realistic solutions and an alternative to the current government in this situation. ”
Sirén does not understand how the debate on so-called voter interfaces can be taken to the party line.
“If you want to know what the Coalition thinks about things, then the answers are there, and I don’t feel that there is a disagreement about them within the party either.”
Siren does not consider the debate on voter interfaces to be very relevant anyway. They are always asking about short-term things. Situations change and reflect the current situation.
“The only way we can make a sustainable policy is to look beyond and act on what we consider to be the Coalition Party. After all, no party can build its own existence by mirroring itself in relation to others. Such a pursuit of short-term profits does not increase credibility. ”
According to Wille Rydman, it is true in itself that the party line must be developed on a long-term basis and not on the basis of individual surveys. On the other hand, he points out that the party’s line must also find demand among its potential voters, otherwise these will point elsewhere.
Rydman says that so far, urbanization has not led to a significant constituency interface for the Coalition Party anywhere other than in Helsinki. In his view, there is no reason to assume that this will change in the future.
“Parties like the Coalition Party are not in competition with the Greens anywhere else in Europe. The emphasis on blue-green politics has been driven by an ideological desire to influence what the Coalition Party’s line is. And there is nothing wrong with that in itself, but there is no verifiable evidence that this line is a recipe for success for the party. ”
Thursday former Coalition Chairman and Prime Minister Alexander Stubb tweeted that 2007-2019 was a “blue-green line success story”.
Rydman thinks this is not the case.
“It’s worth remembering that in 2007 Sauli Niinistö was a candidate himself and garnered the all-time number of votes. The whole party was united with him and his image was relied upon everywhere. Since then, the election, in which Niinistö has not been a driving force, has gone worse. ”
Rydman says that in Helsinki, the Coalition Party won the last municipal elections precisely by standing out from the Greens, for example in the issue of the Grand Mosque, and also because the mayoral Jan Vapaavuori the personal brand was so significant.
According to Rydman, a review of the composition of the Coalition Council’s council group does not give any indications that even in Helsinki, a particularly blue-green line brings electoral success to the Coalition’s lists.
Siren considers, on the other hand, that information on voter behavior does not even support the idea that the Coalition Party should compete for voters with basic Finns.
He points out that urbanization is accelerating, the number of voters in cities is growing and the importance of cities for election victory is increasing.
At the same time, the number of basic Finns in cities has decreased, Sirén says.
“We are the party of the future, and we need to think about where the future is being built. So what is the long-term goal and direction we have. ”
Rydman believes that party chairman Orpo will do his best to balance the different currents of the party.
For a long time, the Coalition Party had a dominant position on the right-wing side of the party field. The situation began to change in 2017, when the Basic Finns broke up and Jussi from Halla-aho became chairman.
Timo Soinin led by Perussuomalaiset had profiled itself as a movement with a small man in mind, with Vennamo roots. With Halla-aho, the party’s economic line became right-wing in one fell swoop. The Coalition Party got a competitor on the right side of economic policy.
“It has certainly accelerated the challenges of the Coalition Party,” Rydman says.
Siren according to him, the result of a recent voter vote has raised concerns precisely that “the party will not run after them but will stay in the line it has”.
“Why would we go change our line? That would be very short-sighted, ”says Sirén.
“We base our line on the values that are important to us and our fresh, good goal program.”
What if the Coalition is trying to address supporters based on the direction indicated by the polls?
Sirén says he believes that then the Coalition will lose voters.
“No decisions can be made based on these. They must be made on the basis of what we believe is a Coalition policy, which we think is right and which we are pursuing in the long term. That is why we are involved in politics in general. ”