National Coalition Party (KOK). KOK is Finland’s major catch-all centre-right party. Founded in 1918, it is the heir to both liberal and conservative strains of right-of-centre thought.
While KOK is officially conservative it is an increasingly liberal party, backing multiculturalism and gay rights. Unlike other conservative parties in Europe it is strongest in urban areas, particularly in Helsinki, and weak in rural areas where Centre tends to be much stronger, giving it a comparatively cosmopolitan feel.
The party has historically tended to be Finland’s most pro-American and pro-European party, which tended to block its entry into government in the Cold War years. The party still supports Finland’s entry into NATO though it tends to be quieter about it these days.
KOK’s base is the youngest of the Finnish parties. While one of Finland’s ‘Big 3’ it has only led a government twice since the end of WWII – between 1987 and 1991 and from 2011 until now. It has participated in both Centre and SDP-led governments however, and currently presides over a six party coalition with the SDP, the Greens, the Left Alliance, the Swedish People’s Party and the Christian Democrats. The party benefitted from a period of popularity from 2006 until 2012, and now holds both the Premiership and the Presidency. However the uneven economic recovery has led it to fall to second place in the polls to a revitalised Centre Party.
The party may benefit from the decision of the popular Minister for European Affairs, and former Foreign Minister, Alexander Stubb to stand to return to the Parliament. Stubb a charismatic and likeable politician, who is well known and liked across European politics, was a MEP between 2004 and 2008 and won the second highest number of votes in the 2011 national election. Considering Stubb’s, popularity and relative youth and talent it may well be the case that he is eyeing another position, perhaps as leader of the European People’s Party, or as President of the Parliament.
KOK is a member of the European People’s Party. With a 94.5% loyalty rate it has a below average loyalty for the group, but is more loyal than its fellow EPP member, the Christian Democrats.