Kalevi Sorsa

original research|date=September 2008

Taisto Kalevi Sorsa (December 21, 1930January 16, 2004) was a Finnish politician who was Prime Minister of Finland four times: 1972-1975, 1977-1979, 1982-1983 and 1983-1987 and at the date of his death still held the Finnish record of most days of incumbency as prime minister.Fact|date=September 2008 He was also a long-time leader of the Social Democratic Party of Finland.

Before a meteoric rise to the top of Finnish politics Kalevi Sorsa worked as a publishing editor, with his greatest claim to fame being to turn down the first novel of Kalle Päätalo,Fact|date=September 2008 which turned out to be one of the greatest Finnish bestsellers of all time. Sorsa was brought in from this relative obscurity by Rafael Paasio to assume the influential post of party secretary without much previous experience of politics.

One of the most strongwilled but also thinskinned public figures,Fact|date=September 2008 Sorsa had numerous fractious relations with other politicians and the whole of the media, which he lambasted by coining a pejorative epithet "infokratia".Fact|date=September 2008

He had good relations with those politicians who were clearly at a level he could not approach, such as Rafael Paasio and Willy Brandt who took him under their wings as a protege in the Socialist international. Analogously he had good relations with politicians he could hold in sway, and who enforced his policies, although he tolerated very little independence of thought in his underlings.Fact|date=September 2008

Of the politicians of his era, the most difficult relationship he had with Paavo Väyrynen, an equally strongwilled opponent at the helm of the Center Party. Another notable prolonged conflict was an internecine rivalry with the young Paavo Lipponen on his way up.

Valco scandal

During the 1970s Finland started an experiment of state capitalism called Valco which was to have utilized Finnish high-tech know-how to mass produce television screens. Sorsa affiliated himself very prominently with the project, in a manner that would have undoubtedly assured him a great deal of credit for its inception, if it had turned out to be a success.Fact|date=September 2008 Unfortunately Japanese high-tech know-how trumped that of Finland, and the project plunged deeply into the red.Fact|date=September 2008 To add insult to injury, muckrakers uncovered copious product gifts from the company to Sorsa and others.Fact|date=September 2008 Though the practise was arguably nearly legal at the time, subsequently passed corruption laws would classify the practise as gross corruption and even at the time the matter became a stain on Sorsa's reputation.Fact|date=September 2008

The fact that Sorsa never attained the Finnish presidency, nor even ran for the post, was a cause of lasting bitterness, and his memoirs were not lacking in barbs towards his predecessors, contemporaries and successors.Fact|date=September 2008

ee also

*Politics of Finland
*Political parties in Finland

References


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Look at other dictionaries:

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