Finland hasn’t been the same since the April 2011 elections, when the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party won its historic victory and became Finland’s third-largest party with 39 seats versus 5 seats in 2007. The PS’ latest election flop is another indication that the vast majority of Finns and immigrants are giving the thumbs down to anti-almost-everything populism.
The spoils of last years election victory appear to have weaned considerably. This is good news not only for immigrants in Finland but for the country as well. In the presidential election in January, Finns Party chairman Timo Soini got 9.4% of the votes, while in last Sunday’s municipal election the PS could only muster 12.3%, a far cry from 19.1% it gained in last year’s election.
Many have wondered how is it possible that an anti-EU, anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam party could become in such a short time a major political force in Finland. My guess is the following: Our lack of cultural diversity.
If Finland had larger ethnic and religious minorities, it’s highly doubtful that a radical populist party with a strong anti-immigration message would have ever raised to national prominence as the PS did.
One of the big debates going on in Finland presently is how our ever-growing immigrant population will change our country. While we don’t have a precise answer how it will change Finland in this century, we can say with certainty that it will change the country.
If I had the opportunity to take a fast peek into the future, I would see a society that comprises of many ethnic and cultural groups. I am confident that our cultural diversity will benefit and strengthen us for one main reason: it will ensure that no group ever gets the high ground.
No society is perfect, not even those that claim to be ”near-homogenous” like Finland. Since no society is perfect, never mind one that is culturally diverse, there are many poor examples we should avoid.
One of the most important are those examples that stray away from our values, which are strongly enshrined on acceptance, respect and equal opportunities.