Author Topic: Municipal elections in Finland - a backlash against xenophobia  (Read 99 times)

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Offline SCarpelan

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http://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/early_results_show_losses_for_finns_party_in_finnish_local_elections/9555861

Just thought I'd throw in some good news from politics since they are so rare nowadays. During the last decade the "True" Finns party has had a meteoric rise in the Finnish politics by a combination of blatant pandering to xenophobia and a Trumpian denial of doing that. For the first time in a decade they suffered an election loss on a national scale. While they had risen to be tied as the second largest party in the parliament their election results in the local level lagged behind and despite more than doubling their vote tally in the last local elections in 2012 they still only had 12,3% of the vote nationally. Now, in the yesterday's local elections, they lost 3,5 percentage points tying their total with the Left Alliance.

While Left Alliance did have a small gain the overwhelming beneficiary of the backlash was the Green Party. They didn't gain so much in the capital but in other cities and municipalities they gained more ground and in my city they actually are now the biggest party. In my opinion this shows that the youths were activated to vote in this election and were not only angry about the xenophobia but also bitter about the cuts to the education. They still got only 12,4% of the national vote but a gain of 3,9 percentage points is huge and this is very promising for them when considering the next parliamentary elections. The other two government parties lost only a bit over a percentage point which shows their support is much more reliable than the "True" Finns'. The largest opposition party, the Social Democrats, neither gained nor lost ground this election which means they at least have stopped their votes bleeding to the "True" Finns.

One reason for the Center Party and National Coalition Party - that still had the largest vote total of 20,7% - not losing more votes is that they have pushed decisions about further unpopular spending cuts after the local elections. On the other hand, this means that there is a good chance their votes will drop more in two years and the opposition will gain more ground. On the other hand, we will now see more of their brutal austerity and privatization since they don't have to worry about an immediate election anymore.

For the "True" Finns this does not bode well. It seems the dissatisfied and less racist workers are already starting to abandon the party. The long time party leader Timo Soini is retiring and the xenophobic elements are going to be more explicit with him no more providing cover and excuses for them. This is going to be especially true if Jussi Halla-aho, the leader of the explicitly racist wing and the intellectual face of racism in Finland, will win the leadership which will probably happen with his web army activating voters in the party election. This is going to be good news for the Social Democrats who have enough of a conservative strain to lure back many of these people.