Nationalists Make Surprising Gains in Finnish Elections

I’m rather glad about the results along with other gains for parties like the UKIP, VVD, Swedish Democrats, and so on in other European countries. Hopefully they will shake the EU and its elites out of their complacency.

The VVD can be called a lot of things, but it’s not nearly a nationalist party, it’s not new - it’s been one of the most influential parties in Dutch politics for as long as I can remember - and if I had to point to one party of the “elite” (assuming there is one over here) it would either be them or the CDA (Christian Democrats).

You might be thinking of the PVV, who at least pretend to be anti-elitist and nationalist (but don’t call them nationalist to their face).

“shake the EU and its elites out of their complacency”? You mean, push center-right parties toward racially charged laws to win far-right votes from ascendant fringe parties? Enough problem with that already.

Yes - that’s what we need. More nationalism in Europe. That went so well last time.

Yeah I meant the PVV.

What do you mean exactly by racially charged laws? Restricting immigration? :rolleyes:

Yes because all patriots/nationalists are Nazis. :rolleyes:

This is only my personal view on the situation from here in the cold north, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I don’t support the True Finns views, and I didn’t vote for them. However, they’re really more moderate nationalists, and not as extreme as some of the other ascendant European nationalist parties like the Swedish Democrats. The party leadership has actually tried to distance themselves from the Swedish Democrats.

First some background on the Finnish political situation before this election. We have three major parties, and they each typically get 20-25% of the vote, while the rest goes to smaller parties. Almost always the biggest party will form the government by taking one of the other big three (Typically either the 2nd largest, or the one currently in opposition) along with 1-3 smaller helper parties.

This means that governments tend to be a lot more similar from election to election than in a two party system. A National Coalition+Centre government isn’t as different from a National Coalition+SDP government as Democrat vs Republican in the USA for example. Parties in the government typically lose at least some votes, while parties in the opposition typically gain at least some. All three of the major parties are really more or less centrist, though from a different point of view they’d probably all be considered socialists.

The parties in Finland along with current MP count and change from last election
National Coalition Party 44 −6
A party somewhat right of center economically, with mostly socially liberal but also some conservative members. Emphasises entrepreneurship and businesses, and is typically viewed as a wealthy person’s party.
Centre Party 35 −16
A centre party with a strong rural background and emphasis.
Social Democratic Party of Finland 42 −3
A party somewhat left of center economically with a strong worker and labour bent.
Green League 10 −5
A green party with a strong antinuclear, equality, and enviromental emphasis. The green party is surprisingly close to the National Coalition economically though, and part of the current government. You could call it a rainbow party both for the strong support for gays, as well as having a wide spectrum of supporters from both the left and the right economically. This has caused some strain within the party, and some of their supporters were very unhappy that they were in a government that accepted 2 new nuclear power plants.
Left Alliance 14 −3
Leftist party with a strong welfare state emphasis. Usually considered a party for people for whom SDP is too much to the centre. Has had a reputation for being an old people’s party, but has managed to “youthify” it’s image recently.
True Finns 39 +34
The party that has made huge gains now. I’ll get into them a little later. The engish name is a poor choice, as a more direct translation from the finnish name would be more like “Basic Finns.” So the name is supposed to convey that they are ordinary folk, not that everyone else is not finnish enough.
Christian Democrats of Finland 6 −1
A christian party that has unfortunately recently turned more towards fundamentalism. The state church of Finland itself is quite liberal and moderate.
Swedish People’s Party of Finland 9 +0
In theory they are a liberal party fairly close to the National Coalition, but in practice they’re very malleable. They’ve been in every formed government for over 50 years, with the exception of just one government from 1966 to 1968. This is because it’s generally thought that their only real agenda is maintaining the position of the Swedish language in Finland, so they’re willing to go along with any goverment’s policy.

The current governement is National Coalition, Centre Party, Green League, and the Swedes.

So why have the True Finns gained so much support in this election? I think there’s several reasons:

  • There is a general feeling in Finnish politics that nothing ever changes. There’s always two of the three big parties in the government, and usually the one in opposition gets in the government again after the next election. The True Finn vote is at least partly a slap against the big three, who some consider to have become too complacent.

  • The second, and probably the most important one, is that they are critical of the EU. Every other major party in the parliament is more or less EU-friendly. There’s always been some opposition to the EU in Finland (The election whether to join EU passed with 57% saying yes in 1994). When things were going well with the EU, people were generally content not to speak up. Now that things aren’t going so well anymore, opposition is starting to rear up it’s head. The general feeling is that people are unhappy to pay for the mistakes of other nations and their banks, and it’s not just the Finns who are starting to feel that way in the EU. The Portugal issue was huge in the election campaign leading up to this vote. I’m moderately pro EU myself, though the financial crisis is very worrying.

  • It’s not a coincidence that the Centre party with strong rural support previously suffered the most in this election. The feeling in the rural side is that the Centre party has somewhat abandoned it’s rural base to court urban voters. The rural voters of the Centre Party have probably been the largest shifting voterbase in this election.

  • There is some anti immigration sentiment in the True Finn party, and it’s especially targeted at refugees and people who immigrate and get on welfare. Officially the party is welcoming any immigrants who come here to work. I’m sure there is at least some racist sentiment in the voters, but even the couple of anti-immigration MPs in the party aren’t really openly racist. I’d say this issue can account for maybe 10-20% of their total vote, so it’s not one of the major issues.

  • The True Finns are the only party officially against what is usually referred to as “forced Swedish” in schools and the education system. Finns devote a large portion of their school years from Junior High to University level, but most Finns don’t have a use for it, and don’t even learn it very well. According to recent polls only 24% of the population is in favour of “forced Swedish” in schools, while 69% oppose, but the major parties have been unwilling to make changes. This is probably less important for the election than the anti-EU and pro-rural True Finn sentiment, though.

So what can be reasonably expected to happen in Finland?

  • Theirs is a more moderate type of nationalism or populism, but this also means they have managed to get a lot more support than some of the other European nationalist parties. Being more mainstream means more opportunities to actually influence things, but it also means being a more moderate party. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them as just another party in the Finnish political landscape in another 5 or 10 years, though with less support than they have now.
  • Welfare based immigration will probably be restricted somewhat
  • The True Finns still only have 19% of the vote, and they’ll need several other parties to form a government. The most likely government right now seems to be National Coalition+SDP+True Finns. This means the True Finns compromising on their own agendas, and it remains to be seen how their supporters will see it.
  • The True Finns aren’t too keen on green values or enviromentalism.
  • Finland will become more anti-EU. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Centre Party too went more in that direction because of their heavy defeat in this election.
  • The True Finns have been very vocal about opposing the financial aid to countries like Greece, Portugal, and Ireland. The EU bailouts require support from each of the 17 member nations, and Finnish law requires a vote in the parliament to pass a bailout bill. This election result does threaten the bailout packages, and it’s likely to be the biggest real impact their success.

One party can’t dictate policy in the Finnish political system, so there’s always need for compromise and negotiation. It remains interesting to see which issues the True Finns will consider the most important in their newfound political power.

What about calling for an outright ban on specific religious books? I think you can guess which book. And that’s the leader of the PVV, mr Wilders himself, not some minor lackey. CITE from the PVV’s own website. English report that I haven’t inspected in detail

As that article itself points out, Europeans on both the right and left are more eager to censor or ban books, slogans, symbols, etc…

Where does it say that?

Added salt or not, this was an informative and educational post. Thanks.

Then it is strange that this site: lists mostly organizations and people in the U.S. that are responsible for book bannings. Most of the Europeans on that list are dead or no longer in office (Frederick William II of Prussia indeed!).

The only book that I know of that was (sort of) banned in Germany after the war was “Mein Kampf”, and even that wasn’t a real ban. It was always perfectly legal to own a copy, and also legal to buy a copy. It just hasn’t been reprinted. But if you find an old copy at a flea market or antique book store, you can buy it without problems.

So, name me some of these books and / or symbols that the Europeans are banning willy-nilly?

Oh, so that’s alright then. :dubious:

The article itself points out Mein Kampf is banned and while I’m not equating that with the Koran, if you’re going to ban one book for its racism, advocacy of violence, etc. its hard to argue why not this also?

Most of those “banned books” are simply removed from a library not banned throughout the whole nation as in Europe.

is not the same as:

Which happens to be incorrect. See here:

Since when is Europe one nation, and since when is Mein Kampf banned in Europe? It has even been republished in Sweden