Monday, 20 April 2015

My analysis of and thoughts on the recent Finnish general election

The 20th of April 2015 marks quite a few things to me. Today is my brother's birthday, today was the deadline for voter registration for the 2015 general election, and in the early hours of today the final results of the 2015 Finnish general election.

As was widely predicted, the agrarian, semi-liberal Centre Party topped the poll, increasing its seat total from 35 to 49 and receiving 21.1% of the vote; however, this meant they did not recover all of the 16 seats they lost in 2011. In particular, they experienced their greatest increases in the north and other rural districts, where they had in 2011 lost much support to the True Finns (now the Finns Party). Only one other party in Finland increased its intake of MPs-the Green League, thankfully. I believe this is due to both parties supporting a Basic Income, an initiative we Greens often speak of and which is supported by a majority of Finns-65% according to recent news. The Pirate Party also got more support but could not win any seats at all, partly due to its lack of support outside urban areas (the opposite problem to that faced by the Centre Party, who in Helsinki experienced a vote share increase considerably less than in rural districts like Central Finland and Lapland). One downside is that despite the fact the Left Alliance also advocated Basic Income and withdrew from the previous coalition, it actually lost two seats when it was widely predicted to gain at least two. They did not lose votes in all districts, though-their vote share actually increased in Varsinias-Suomi.

The former governing parties, meanwhile, lost out, but not to the extent predicted. Overall, the National Coalition Party (Finland's answer to the Conservatives) lost seven seats, the Social Democrats lost eight, and the Finns Party lost just one; the Finns Party finished with one more seat than the National Coalition Party despite receiving slightly fewer votes. The National Coalition Party is more reliant on (generally affluent) urban support than the Finns Party, and it lost substantial numbers of votes in key Finnish urban areas (such as Usimaa and Helsinki, which together form the Greater Helsinki area); the Finns Party was more fortunate in this regard.

As the three parties who openly supported a Basic Income-Centre, Green League, and Left Alliance-do not have enough seats in total to form a majority (the three aforementioned parties only have a total of 76 seats, when 101 are needed for a majority in the Eduskunta, the name for Finland's Parliament)-will it be passed in the end, or will it end up watered down too much or lost altogether? It is certain that Juha Spila will be the next Finnish Prime Minister, but the exact coalition that is formed remains to be seen.

Alan.

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