Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

All your Finnish election needs

Two days ago marked the 100th anniversary of parliamentary democracy in Finland. Today they’ve got an election. Polls close in about an hour and a half, so it’s about to get interesting. (Well, possibly…)

Thanks to the way this is all likely to work out, we could well see a new Prime Minister emerge by the morning – which would mean that the EU loses one of its most sensible contributors, the self-described “Euro-pragmatistMatti Vanhanen.

In other words, there could well be a wider impact than just a few alterations to the reindeer supply… Worth paying attention to.

First up, check out Aapotsikko’s overview of the key issues, plus predictions. You could do a lot worse than hop around the rest of the blog to catch up on background. (Finland for Thought also has some decent election coverage.)

Then follow the results as they come in, and keep an eye on Finnish newspaper Helsingen Sannomat (in English), plus this useful news site (and another)

Wikipedia’s page on the elections is also likely to be helpful to those of us who don’t really know much about Finnish politics.

Any other suggestions of handy Finnish sites much appreciated.

10 pm Update: Well that was quick – two hours after the polls closed, 99% of the votes counted, and it looks like Vanhannen stays in by just one seat.

Update 2: Aapotsikko’s back with context and analysis

2 Comments

  1. Thank you very much for this, Clive. The entire election period had quite an inward taste all the time, and it indeed seemed to me that Finland was more interested in Matti Vanhanen's women, political advertising and YouTube, rather than the country's place in Europe and the world.

    For the Finnish EU debate this election had one obvious consequence – the emerge of the True Finns Party. Until this Sunday I had considered more or less a party of village idiots, but seemed that they managed to harness much of the prevailing Euroskepticism. The Centre Party, typically (and also from now on, to a large extent) the only option in rural areas, was in an awkward position; on one hand, its leader was running EU summits and shuttling to Brussels and back, but on the other its political home was still among the people who once voted "ei" in the 1994 referendum. The Centre has been under a kind of transition process, increasingly trying to appeal to the urban, and more international voters (Olli Rehn is the man of this party; also mark down the name Paula Lehtomäki, the Minister for Trade and Development in the incumbent government – she's 35 and may have a big role after 5 years or so) and back in the villages this cost them a few seats.

    As for Socialdemocrats, they'll simply have to reinvent themselves after this kind of disaster. The SDP tried hard to appear as the conserving power, the Last Defender of the Welfare State, but by the voters this was apparently interpreted as a lack of new ideas. Sweden saw more or less the same phenomenom in September: the strategy of arguing that we may actually not know how to do things better but, if you don't vote us, the others will do those things certainly worse doesn't go down well if everybody can see that the system is far from perfect.

    By the way, we had a little bit about Finland in Global Economy Matters too:
    http://globaleconomydoesmatter.blogspot.com/

  2. In addition to my posting on Finland's centenary election for Global Economy Matters, which Aapo already mentioned – he authored a companion piece about his country's economy – my website also has a section covering parliamentary elections in Finland, with election statistics from 1945 up to this Sunday's vote.