Timo Soini

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Soini in 2007
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Timo Soini (1962–) is a Finnish politician and a former member of Finnish Parliament as well as the European Parliament, who served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister from 2015 to 2019, currently a member of the Blue Reform party. Soini is a right-wing populist.[1] He has stated that he is one of the few republicans in Finland[2]—not that there is an exact analogue to the U.S. Republican Party in Finland. Soini is known for his excellent oratorical skills and his ability to condense complex political questions into easily digestible soundbites, which has brought him considerable popularity and record-breaking numbers of personal votes.[3]

Soini was one of the founders of the True FinnsWikipedia's W.svg party (later renamed "The Finns Party"), and its long-time leader. He considers himself the heir of the populist hero Veikko Vennamo (1913-1997),[4] who employed the same tactics: anti-elitism and opposition to the mainstream consensus. In 2011, he led his small party to an unprecedented victory, gaining 19.1% of the votes and securing seats in the Finnish Government. However, in 2017, the True Finns general party conference elected an immigration critic Jussi Halla-aho as chairman. In response, the partner parties—National Coalition and Centre Party—threw the party out of government. Soini among other dissenters defected from the True Finns party and founded a new parliamentary group, temporarily called New Alternative (Uusi Vaihtoehto), then Blue Reform (Sininen tulevaisuus), and Soini got to keep his position in the government.[5] In a twist of irony, this displays exactly the kind of hypocritical "spine made of banknotes" (seteliselkärankaisuus) that his idol Vennamo criticised defectors from his party of.[6]In 2019 General Elections, the Blue Alternative dropped to less than 1% national support and fell out of the Finnish Parliament.[7] Timo Soini did not run himself for office in that election.

He is Catholic convert, having converted from the Lutheran faith of the majority. This is very unusual in Finland, where Catholicism was almost wiped out by the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, and remains a minority religion (<0.5%). He said that opposition to female ordination to priesthood drove him to Catholicism.[8] Soini considers marriage to be something only for straight couples because "sexuality is only for a husband and a wife, and that's just it".[8] He's also pro-life.[2] These views would be unremarkable in the U.S., but they place him in a small political minority in Finland. It should be noted that although he is not a very liberal person, he comes nowhere close to the silliness of his American colleagues.

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