Monday 18 April 2011

Finis Finlandiae?

The anti-EU and anti-immigration True Finns made spectacular progress in the election to the Parliament of Finland, gaining 34 new seats. Just 0.1% behind the vote share of the Social Democrats, the True Finns have the third largest parliamentary group, with 39 seats (out of 200).

This is a sensational outcome in a country known for stability, consensus politics and small shifts.

True Finns – EFD

In the European Parliament, the True Finns are represented in the Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group (EFD), together with the UK Independence Party, the Italian Lega Nord, the Greek Popular Orthodox Rally and others.

The election victory of the True Finns is a strong reaction by a large part of the public against the challenges of globalisation, the increasing need for internationalism and the requirements to show European solidarity.

Split country

The country is split. The other side of the coin is that for the first time ever, the pro-European National Coalition Party became the largest party in the Finnish Parliament.

Until the election campaign, the Social Democratic Party, which came in second, was known as a pro-European force in Finnish politics. Now its future role is in doubt.

Piecing together a government coalition may prove difficult for other reasons as well. Two of the current government parties suffered huge losses: the Centre Party of prime minister Mari Kiviniemi and the Green League led by Anni Sinnemäki. The fourth coalition partner, the Swedish People's Party, held its positions.

MEP and True Finns' chairman Timo Soini received the largest number of personal votes in the whole country (43,212). The dichotomy is illustrated by the fact that he was followed by two representatives of the pro-European National Coalition Party: foreign minister Alexander Stubb (41,766) and chairman and finance minister Jyrki Katainen (23,941).

Election results

These are the final results of the parliamentary elections in Finland:

National Coalition Party (EPP Group): 20.4%, 44 seats (-6)
Social Democratic Party (S&D): 19.1%, 42 seats (-3)
True Finns (EFD): 19.0%, 39 seats (+34)
Centre Party (ALDE): 15.8%, 35 seats (-16)
Left Alliance (GUE/NGL): 8.1%, 14 seats (-3)
Green League (Greens/EFA): 7.2%, 10 seats (-5)
Swedish People’s Party (ALDE): 4.3%, 9 seats (0)
Christian Democrats (EPP): 4.0%, 6 seats (-1)
Pirate Party: 0.4%
Others: 1.6%

Source: 'NCP Biggets Party, True Finns Make Huge Gains' and 'Tulospalvelu' (Results)

This morning the euro currency is weaker in Asian trading. Although not the end of Finland (”Finis Finlandiae”) or the EU, Sunday's vote made it harder to sort out the problems in the eurozone and to improve the European Union.

Ralf Grahn


  1. Ralf, I hear that the True Finns will be invited to be members of the new gov coalition! Yikes. IMO the EPP, PES & ALDE member parties should form a "tres grand" coalition, ie wider than the German EPP - PES "grand coalition" of 2005-2009. If only Germany had that one today too!

  2. NickP,

    The leaders of the Centre Party (ALDE) and the Greens (Greens/EFA) said on election night that they would head into opposition (to tend to their wounds).

    This does not leave many options for a majority government.

    In addition, I do not think that the party leaders are prepared to defy the unprecedented reaction from a large part of the electorate by isolating the True Finns.

    Instead, they probably think that it is more effective in the long run to hug the True Finns to death by forcing them to take responsibility, instead of making them into martyrs.


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