April 18, 2011

True Finn party surges to 39 seats in Finnish election

Filed under: Europe, Politics — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 15:53

From nowhere to third-largest party:

The True Finns finished just behind the conservative NCP and the Social Democrats on around 19%.

While the Social Democrats have called for changes on EU bail-outs, including the planned Portuguese rescue, True Finns opposes the plans altogether.

A hostile Finnish government could theoretically veto the package.

Unlike other eurozone countries, Finland’s parliament can vote on whether to approve the measures.

Correspondents say the increased sway of Euro-sceptics in Finland’s parliament could hold up any further bail-out deals.

As the biggest party, the NCP is tipped to lead the next government with former Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen likely to become prime minister of whatever coalition emerges, replacing Mari Kiviniemi of the Centre Party.

Gavin Hewitt called it a “tremor” with an “epicentre” in Finland:

A few years ago the True Finns were a fringe party, that received almost no attention. So what happened? The vote was not just about the bailout. There was anxiety about unemployment and fears of a jobless economic recovery. Reductions in pensions had angered many workers. The party also tapped into fears about immigration.

What makes this election so significant is that it follows a pattern across Europe. Establishment and incumbent parties are being rejected. Nationalist parties are gaining influence.

In the Netherlands, the anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders leads the country’s third largest party. In Italy the Northern League — hostile to immigration and wary of the EU — is increasingly powerful. In France, Marine Le Pen — who wants to abandon the euro — is showing strong support in the polls.

Recently, writing in the Financial Times, Peter Spiegel questioned whether we were seeing the emergence of a European Tea Party. Certainly there is a strong sense of alienation and dissatisfaction. Immigration is a key factor. It is shaking governments. There are more than 24 million people without work in the EU and there is no appetite to welcome new arrivals. That is why the migrants from Tunisia are sparking such tension between Italy and France.

As important as immigration is unemployment. In countries like Italy and Spain there is talk of a “lost generation” that cannot find work. There is a growing awareness that Europe may be a low-growth area.

H/T to Elizabeth, who reminded me that I had an obligation to report the final results after having posted links to the election race twice before.


  1. Of course my intrepid fellow commentators at the Telegraph assure me that as we speak the Eurocrats will be heading north with bags of money/positions and perks to “persuade” the Finnish coalition to not allow the True Finns near the government.

    Comment by Wallhouse Wart — April 19, 2011 @ 13:04

  2. This would be no surprise at all. The True Finn party may do better to stay out of the coalition anyway . . . their support may not survive if they are seen to compromise too much or too quickly with the existing power structure.

    Comment by Nicholas — April 19, 2011 @ 18:23

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