What do Sunday’s municipal elections tell us about where Finland is heading politically? Even if the anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS) party won 12.3% of the votes, which was a disappointment for Timo Soini, it reinforces Finland’s anti-EU and anti-immigration stance.
The biggest winner of the election was the Center Party (18.7%), which had lost a lot of votes to the PS in the April 2011 election, and the PS. The biggest losers were the Greens (8.5%) .
If Sunday’s results are anything to go by, the secret of being rich in votes and (in)famous is to be a PS member and be a Counterjihadist or strongly against immigration and cultural diversity.
Finland’s most notorious Counterjihadists did well in the election. Some of these include Jussi Halla-aho of Helsinki who won 6,026 votes, while Olli Immonen (1,270)of Oulu and Juho Erola (1,053) of Kotka secured a lot of votes as well. James Hirvisaari of Asikkala got in with 191 votes.
Anti-immigration candidates did well in the municipal elections. From top row (left to right) Olli Immonen (elected with 1,270 votes/Oulu), James Hirvisaari (elected 191 votes/Asikkala), Matias Turkkila (not elected/Helsinki), Jussi Halla-aho (elected 6,026 votes/Helsinki), Juho Eerola (elected 1,053 votes/Kotka), Freddy Van Wonterghem (elected 189 votes/Kotka), Simon Elo (elected 352 votes/Espoo), and Kai Haavisto (not elected/Espoo).
Other PS anti-immigration hardliners that were elected include Amon Rautianen of Kotka, who suggested on Facebook that Muslims should be boiled alive, got elected with 152 votes. Freddy van Wonterghem, who got fined for hate speech, went to city council with 189 votes.
Other PS candidates notorious for their anti-immigration stances include Teemu Laitinen (530 votes/Espoo), Sppo Huhta (509 votes/Espoo), Simon Elo (352 votes/Espoo) and Ulla Pyysalo (102 votes/Taipalsaari), MP Eerola’s aide who applied for membership in the neo-Nazi Suomen Kansalinen Vastarinta association.
All in all, the elections were a blow to the PS but it shows that Finland is still flirting with intolerance and far-right nationalism.
As one voter put it, the PS’ 12.3% result was a blow to Soini. “Things could be worse if they would had won about 16% of the votes as some polls predicted,” he said.
Do we have any figures on whether support for these candidates increased or decreased in relation to the overall turnout in their electoral districts?
For example James Hirvisaari received 32 votes fewer than in the last local election in Asiakkala. This was a fall of 14 per cent, compared to an overall turnout just 0.1 per cent lower than last time. In other words Hirvisaari is significantly less popular with his immediate neighbours than he was at the last local election. By contrast the convicted racist criminal Halla-aho roughly doubled his local election support in Helsinki, even though the overall turnout fell by 1.7 per cent.
As the Helsinki local and national election districts are at least geographically very similar, it is also possible to make a rough comparison between the outcomes of yesterday’s local election and the 2011 parliamentary election. The proportion of votes cast for the convicted racist criminal Halla-aho were 6026/283604 (2.125 %) in the latest local election and 15074/347885 (4.333 %) in the 2011 parliamentary election.
Obviously the issues in local and national elections are different, but there are still clear indications of falling personal support for the convicted racist criminal Halla-aho.
Unusual for a party in opposition to lose so much ground and also during a very negative economic climate. This probably translates to a sub-10% vote at the next election, and maybe even less if this marks a trend.
Likewise, normally, the right wing mobilises its voter base more easily than the centre or left. Taking this into account too, you would say that national support once you take account of the higher turnout for national elections would favour other parties more.
While PS will put up their ‘gains’ as a barricade to any reasoned speculation as to where their overall support currently lies, this must be worrying for those in the party who were hoping the last election was a watershed for the party.
So much for being stronger in opposition!
Well it tells us that many of the Somali parents have not integrated into the Finnish society and strungle to find ways to deal with the fact that their children are integrating and behaving in a “Finnish” way.
Obviously it is good – if possible – to visit the country of origin of your parents and meet your relatives but the fact that Somalia is not a safe country to be in makes this a bit different thing, I think.
But what matters most here is that many of the children were sent there against their own will. So it’s quite the opposite of Enrique happily visiting Finland during the summer.
This seems to be a top-level response to another article on Migrant Tales.
Maybe the moderator could move it there, or perhaps you should repost it to this thread.
Here are the Top 10 Candidates (and their political parties) Nation-wide by number of votes, they are all either from Helsinki or Espoo, not surprising since these are the two most populous municipalities:
1) Jan Vapaavuori (NCP), Helsinki, 7,793 votes
2) Paavo Arhinmäki (Left), Helsinki, 6,482
3) Jussi Halla-aho (Finns), Helsinki, 6,026
4) Osmo Soininvaara (Green), Helsinki, 5,833
5) Timo Soini (Finns), Espoo, 5,533
6) Eero Heinäluoma (SDP), Helsinki, 5,197
7) Pentti Arajärvi (SDP), Helsinki, 3,640
8) Maria Guzenina-Richardson (SDP), Espoo, 3,306
9) Carl Haglund (SPP), Espoo, 3,131
10) Jaana Pelkonen (NCP), Helsinki, 3,114
I’m not sure what use those figures are, JM.
There is an obvious tendency for party-votes to go to prominent members of the party in question, as voters seeking primarily to support a party position simply vote for anyone who they are certain represents that party.
The convicted racist criminal Halla-aho is simply the best known PS politician in the Helsinki electoral district, and will therefore tend to collect votes for the PS even from less xenophobic supporters of the party.
I suspect the real popularity drop compared to parliament elections is not quite as large as it might seem. The support of PS has grown much faster than the party has gathered new activists. In local elections the width of the party organization matters more than in national elections, as every municipality needs a selection of well known candidates. In that regard PS is severely disadvantaged compared to the other large parties. (Likely that’s also a major factor in the endless row of village idiots as PS representatives we have witnessed in the past years – they never had the time to really get to know their candidates).
The well known candidates like Soini and Halla-aho had no trouble collecting votes. PS got a lot of new representatives now, and those have a chance to get some name before the next parliamentary elections (I don’t think they can grow big enough celebrities in time for EU elections; those take nation wide fame). So I predict, unless something unexpected happens, that they’ll be a serious contender to be among the top three largest parties again, in the next parliament.
Except that both party Chairman Soini and the convicted racist criminal Halla-aho collected far fewer votes in yesterday’s elections than in the parliamentary election last year – even after correcting for the lower turnout – and Soini also fell far short of his local election popularity in 2008.
James Hirvisaari is well known, but also lost 14 per cent of his 2008 local electoral support. PS was the largest party in Asikkala for the 2011 parliamentary election, but was beaten into third place yesterday. Hirvisaari got 820 votes in 2011 (almost double the number of his nearest rival), but only 191 votes yesterday. Even correcting for the lower turnout in local elections, these are very substantial losses in electoral popularity.
I wonder if any PS candidates performed more strongly in proportional terms yesterday than in 2011.
That’s a good point. It complicates comparisons a bit that the electoral districts are mostly different in municipal and parliamentary elections. Helsinki alone is not good enough indicator for the trends in the whole country.
As a whole, compared to 2008 PS has gained (Soini and Hirvisaari personally lost, Halla-aho gained – but H-a lost compared to 2011 like you pointed out), it is the steepness of their current descent in popularity that is less clear.