True Finns drop the ‘True’

Anti-immigration party the True Finns have officially dropped the ‘True’ from their English-language name and will be referred to simply as ‘The Finns’ from now on.

The opposition party, which clawed in considerable gains at Finland’s parliamentary elections this year, made the decision at a board meeting last weekend.

The right-wing party, which took 20 percent of the vote this year, had previously found it difficult to decide on their English moniker due to elements that were lost in translation from their Finnish title ‘Perussuomalaiset’. The first part of the word: ‘Perus’ refers to an adherence to basic, fundamental values, while the second part simply means ‘Finns’. With options including ‘Simple Finns’, ‘Ordinary Finns’ and ‘Basic Finns’ not quite having the same resonance in English, the party chose to be unofficially known as the True Finns.

Leader Timo Soini told the executive committee meeting in Saarijarvi, central Finland, that the slimmed-down name change would emphasise the party’s pledge to represent ordinary Finns. Media commentators have suggested, however, that some party members thought ‘True Finns’ sounded too xenophobic in the wake of the Norwegian terror attacks.

Political parties in Finland must distinguish themselves by name from any other registered organisation, but the same rule does not apply for English-language alternatives. It remains to be seen how the press will work around the potential confusion between the nation’s people as a whole and the party formally-known as True Finns.