Monday, 18 April 2011

Historic election results in Finland

The Finnish Embassy in London where Daughter and I cast our votes

Last week I wrote about the importance of using one's right to vote.

This morning I'm in shock at the results of the Finnish general elections announced late Sunday night. Surprising enough that the National Coalition Party (NCP) is now the largest party with 44 seats out of the 200-strong parliament, but most worrying of all is that an extreme right-wing party opposing immigration and the EU bailouts, True Finns, gained a whopping 39 seats. That's an increase of nearly 15 percent, gaining the party 34 extra seats.

Timo Soini. Picture from
Early this morning the leader of the True Finns, Timo Soini told the press 'We're not extremists, so you can sleep safely.' Isn't it funny how any extremist party always have to refute their policies? When I read in the True Finns manifesto emotionally laden sentences like, 'Our politics are based on Finnish history and Finnish culture', or 'We do not approve of policies which turn a master into a servant in his own home,' a shiver goes down my spine. And I do sleep badly.

Especially when I further read that over 70 percent of the Finnish voters turned up to vote.  Which means this result was not a consequence of voter apathy where only those with extreme views turned up.

Now on the morning after the election the horse trading between the largest parties begins on who's to form the new government in Finland. The Centre Party, which lost 16 seats in the parliament and its position as the largest party in the country, will now most probably go into opposition.

Jyrki Katainen, photo from
The leader of the largest party, NCP, Jyrki Katainen, told YLE (Finnish National Broadcasting Corporation) that he'll co-operate with any party as long as the numbers and policies work. His historic victory must surely be tinged with regret that the other winners of the elections are the True Finns.

The mind boggles how a government between the NCP (44 seats), the Social Democrats who got 42 seats and the True Finns with their 39 would work. Would it mean a veto on the Portuguese bailout by the EU, as well as restrictions on immigration?

I fear for the future.

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