Do Finnish voters want a toxic cocktail of masochism and xenophobia in April’s election?

by , under Enrique Tessieri

The latest opinion poll published Thursday by Yle shows three important matters: Support for the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) and Perussuomalaiset (PS)* slip while the Social Democrats regain second place. Another takeaway is the Greens, which took over the Center Party to capture fourth place.

In my opinion, two reasons for the big drop in support for Kokoomus and the PS are Finnish voters’ taste for masochism and radical-right ideology.

Why would I support draconian spending cuts at my expense as a voter? Do I believe that xenophobia will help make such cuts in spending sweeter and more bearable?

Since the rise of the PS in the major leagues of Finnish politics after 2011, the present parliamentary election in April has a taste of déjà vu.

The last municipal election of 2021, was a disappointment for the party after it had invested resources generously in its copy of Brexit’s “Take Finland back” campaign slogan. Opinion polls predicted that the PS would get about 18% of the votes but could only muster 14.5%.

The municipal election of 2021 showed that the PS was too radical for voters. But the PS bubble permits the party to commit the same mistake: Pour on the racism and attack foreigners and minorities with greater gusto. It will help the party win first place in the upcoming election.

Source: Yle

In 2021, the PS invested heavily in anti-immigration and anti-Muslim rhetoric. It explains why the party’s leader, Riikka Purra, has become more radical by reinforcing its long-term goal to exit from the EU.

The xenophobic and ultranationalist message of the PS must be hurting Kokoomus’ liberal voters as well. Undoubtedly, the self-confidence that the party will come on top in the April election is also hurting its popularity.

An 0.9 percentage point decline and a stop to the PS’ rise in the opinion poll also has to do with leadership. Social Democratic Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s statement that she would not form a government with the PS because it is a racist party must have taken some of the gas of the radical right party’s prospects in the poll.

While the Greens, Left Alliance, and the Swedish People’s Party echoed Marin’s message to the PS, it shows that standing up to bullies is possible.

In the past, Finnish politicians and even the media, in some cases, have remained quiet to the PS as it publicly tars and feathers migrants and minorities.

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