Risto Kuisma interview
1. Could you explain to our readers when you
decided to become a politician?
1. As a young 21 year old trade union activist 1968, I decided to
participate in politics on a local level. I was elected as a member of
the Kouvola city government in 1973. 1975 I started working for the
trade union movement, first as a lawyer and then 1978 as a president,
and stopped actively participating in politics.
1994 I gave up my career in the trade union movement and returned to
work as a lawyer. 1995 I was elected to the parliament, and since that
I have been a full time politician.
2. Did you have strong political beliefs during
2. Very strong. I was strongly against injustice and for justice.
My values were left-wing.
3. Was the choice of becoming a "full time
politician" difficult to make? Why?
3. In 1975 the decision was so difficult, that I gave up politics
and chose a career in the trade union movement. In 1995 I considered a
long time before I became a full time politician.
4. How could you present The Finnish Social
Democratic Party to our readers who don't know it?
4. The Finnish Social Democratic party is a 100 year old party. It
has been the largest party in Finland almost throughout its whole
history. The English Labour Party is a brother party for the Finnish
Social Democratic Party.
After 1918 the communists left the Social Democratic party and formed
their own party, which now functions as Vasemmistoliitto (The Left
Alliance). The last three head of states in Finland have been social
democrats. The chairman of the Social Democratic party, Paavo
Lipponen, was prime minister 1995-2003. The Finnish Social Democratic
party is a moderate left-wing party.
5. Has The Finnish Social Democratic Party
always been present in the Finnish political life?
5. The Finnish parliament was founded 1905. The Social Democratic
Party has always been represented in it. The party was founded late in
the 1900-century, and got its present name in 1903.
6. If you had to describe this party with 5
6. Left-wing, moderate, established, international, social
7. What are the positive and negative aspects
of being a politician?
7 It's positive, that one can make the world better and have power
to participate in decisions that affect everyone. As a politician, I
can promote social justice. I have taken that as my mission in life.
The negative aspects are, that there is a lot of plotting and
intrigues in politics. Things progress slowly, and it's difficult to
achieve results. Politicians are poorly appreciated and the media
treats politicians badly.
8. Do you consider it as a profession or is it
more than that?
8 Politics is more than a profession; it's a calling and a purpose
9. If you had the possibility to totally change
your profession. What would you choose?
9 I would maybe return to work for the trade union movement, or
then become a full time writer.
10. Why do you think that in Europe people
become less and less interested in politics?
10 Politics is complicated. Political options are not clear enough.
The parties a too much alike. The appreciation of politics is poor.
11. How do you explain the results of Mister
Tony Halme during the last Parliamentary elections ? Do you think that
he was elected for his ideas or for other reasons?
11 Mr. Tony Halme got protest votes. He got votes from people who
usually don't vote at all. His ideas, some of which were such we call
racist and populistic, were not new. His success was a result of his
person and performance.
12. What images do you have of France and
12 A good image. High class films, music, literature. Good food. A
beautiful, large country; a land of culture. High class industry.
French people are friendly and educated.
13. Is there a French town or region that you
particularly appreciate? Why?
13 Paris is number one, but I also appreciate Marseille and Cannes.
Bretagne fascinates me, but I have only had limited time to get to
know the region.
14. If you had to choose one French person that
could, to your point of view, well represent the image you have of
France and French people... who would it be ?
14 Charles de Gaulle
15. What are your professional or personal
projects for the future?
15 I will continue as a Member of Parliament and aim at higher
positions in politics. In my personal life I'm planning on making a
doctoral thesis. The problem is, that my current duties take up all my
time and strength so completely, that there is no time to start new