di Jukka Pietiläinen, Left Forum Finland –
The 14 April parliamentary elections in Finland were a first victory in parliamentary elections for Left Alliance in 24 years and for Social Democratic Party in 20 years. Left Alliance has won also local elections in 2017 and European elections in 2014. Left Alliance got 8,2% of votes (251 254 votes) and 16 MPs (+4) among 200 MPs. Left Alliance got over 40 000 votes more than in 2015 elections. The party chairperson Li Andersson was the most popular female candidate and she got 24 404 votes in Southwestern Finland district and became in the whole country only second after The Finns party chairperson Jussi Halla-aho who got 30 527 votes in Helsinki.
Among 16 MPs of Left Alliance seven are new and seven are women. Especially young women whose campaign was focused on inequality, climate change and environment and support for migrants got good results.
The elections gave worst result since 1917 to centre-right Centre party which has headed the government since 2015. The prime minister Juha Sipilä, the most popular candidate in 2015, lost almost half of his personal votes and the party in total got only 13,8% of votes (-7,3%) and 31 seats in parliament (-18).
The right-wing populist Finns party got an unexpectedly good result with 17,5% of votes and 39 seats (+1, or +22 if compared with the state in parliament before elections) and only slightly behind the Social Democratic Party which won, but only moderately after a four-year period of right-wing coalition. SDP got 40 MPs (+6) and 17,7% of votes. Despite victory SDP got second lowest share of votes in Finnish history (only in 2011 the share was lower), while centre-right National Coalition Party got its lowest share of votes (17,0%) in 53 years and 38 seats (+1).
The election campaign was characterised by three issues. First, the social and health care reform which was failed in former government and in this respect the several scandals with private nursing homes for elderly. Second, the problems with migration and several sex crimes committed by migrants against children. Third issue, the climate change was also promoting the Finns Party which positioned itself as anti-climate change action party, while all the other parties in parliament had signed an initiative to reduce the global warming to 1.5 degrees.
Among the winners were also the Green League which got its best result in parliamentary elections, 11,5% of votes and 20 MPs (+5). The small parties of the left, Communist Party, Feminist Party and Communist Workers’ Party got only 12 000 votes in total (0,4%) and did not cause lost seats for Left Alliance.
Never before in Finnish election history the largest party has got less than 20% of votes. The number of women in parliament is likely to be 93 which is highest figure in Finnish history.
The winning Social Democratic Party will head the talks for government coalition. It seems likely that Greens will be in government but the Left-Green coalition is far from majority with its 76 MPs even if smaller centrist parties, the Swedish People’s Party (10) and Christian Democrats (5) are included. Majority government needs participation of one of the right-wing parties. Of them the Finns is unlikely, the Centre party may feel interested in going to opposition after the bad result in elections, while co-operation with National Coalition Party is problematic for Left Alliance. Moreover, according to recent party decision, the government participation of Left Alliance needs to be approved by membership referendum.