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.