Sari Essayah to HSTV: Muslim immigrants could vote for Christian Democrats

Christian Democrats leader Sari Essayah says her party’s family-focused policies could appeal to Muslims in Finland.

Speaking on HSTV’s weekly English-language current affairs show Newsmakers, Essayah says many of her party’s supporters ”have close connections to churches and religious communities” and that the party’s values are based on Christian values.

”When it comes to family policy, I would say that for a Muslim voter, Christian Democratic family values are maybe the closest one” says Essayah.

When asked whether she thought Muslims would want to vote for her party, she replied ”why not”. ”We are for freedom of religion, and we see [that] all religious communities [are] very important for society”.

The party current enjoys most of its support from older voters, primarily in the small towns of the Finnish countryside, but Essayah is open to the idea that new immigrants could be attracted to the party’s more traditional, family-focussed values-based ideology.

Turning to Britain’s upcoming referendum on whether to stay in, or leave, the European Union – the so-called ’Brexit’ – Essayah says that from a Finnish perspective ”it would be quite harmful if Brexit happens”.

”The EU is needing Britain for commercial cooperation, we are like-minded countries, Finland and Britain”.

”Britain is one of the biggest net payers in EU […] if Brexit happens, it would mean that Finland has a lot bigger share of the EU budget to cover”.
The Christian Democrat party, says Essayah, shares a lot of the same concerns as British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative party: wary about Brussels imposing too many rules, red tape and legislation on individual countries.
”We see the European Union as a good platform for cooperation between the independent states”, says Essayah, but similarly to Cameron, thinks that ”there are a lot of things we can do better at a national level”.

Helsingin Sanomat

Watch the interview: