2019 Finnish parliamentary election

Parliamentary elections were held in Finland on 14 April 2019.[5] For the first time, no party received more than 20% of the vote. The Centre Party, which had been the largest party following the 2015 elections lost 18 seats as it recorded its lowest vote share since 1917 and dropped to fourth place, with the Social Democratic Party seeing the biggest gains, winning an additional six seats and narrowly becoming the largest party. The Green League and the Left Alliance also gained five and four seats respectively.

2019 Finnish parliamentary election

14 April 2019

All 200 seats in Parliament
101 seats needed for a majority
Turnout72.84%
  First party Second party Third party
 
Leader Antti Rinne Jussi Halla-aho Petteri Orpo[1]
Party Social Democratic Finns National Coalition
Leader since 9 May 2014 10 June 2017 11 June 2016
Last election 34 seats, 16.5% 38 seats, 17.7% 37 seats, 18.2%
Seats won 40 39 38
Seat change 6 1 1
Popular vote 546,471 538,805 523,957
Percentage 17.73% 17.48% 17.00%
Swing 1.23pp 0.22pp 1.20pp

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
 
Leader Juha Sipilä Pekka Haavisto Li Andersson[2]
Party Centre Green League Left Alliance
Leader since 9 June 2012 3 November 2018 6 June 2016
Last election 49 seats, 21.1% 15 seats, 8.5% 12 seats, 7.1%
Seats won 31 20 16
Seat change 18 5 4
Popular vote 423,920 354,194 251,808
Percentage 13.76% 11.49% 8.17%
Swing 7.34pp 2.99pp 1.07pp

  Seventh party Eighth party Ninth party
 
Leader Anna-Maja Henriksson[3] Sari Essayah[4] Harry Harkimo
Party Swedish People's Christian Democrat Movement Now
Leader since 12 June 2016 29 August 2015 21 April 2018
Last election 9 seats, 4,9% 5 seats, 3.5%
Seats won 9 5 1
Seat change 0 0 New
Popular vote 139,640 120,144 69,427
Percentage 4.53% 3.90% 2.25%
Swing 0.37pp 0.40pp New


Prime Minister before election

Juha Sipilä
Centre

Elected Prime Minister

Antti Rinne
Social Democratic

The Finns Party and the National Coalition Party also gained one seat each, with the Finns Party recovering the seats it had lost in the previous parliament when 21 of its MPs left to form Blue Reform, which failed to win a seat. The Swedish People's Party and the Christian Democrats retained all of their seats that they had won in the previous elections. The Åland Coalition retained their seat in the Åland Islands, whilst Harry Harkimo, a former National Coalition MP who founded Movement Now twelve months earlier, was reelected in his constituency, thus giving his own movement its first elected MP.

Social Democratic Party leader Antti Rinne subsequently formed a coalition government with the Centre Party, Green League, Left Alliance and Swedish People's Party. Due to the Centre Party's devastating defeat, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä consequently announced that he would continue as the chairman only until the party's next convention in September 2019.[6]

Background

The incumbent government was formed by a three party center-right coalition, composed of the Centre Party, Finns Party and National Coalition Party.[7] On 28 May 2015, the parliament elected Juha Sipilä as prime minister by a vote of 128–62.[8]

2017 government crisis

On 10 June 2017, the Finns Party elected Jussi Halla-aho as the new leader of the party, after the long-time leader Timo Soini had decided to step down. Following the talks among the three coalition leaders, Sipilä and Minister of Finance Petteri Orpo announced that they would no longer cooperate in a coalition government with the Finns Party. The collapse of government was averted on 13 June when twenty MPs defected from the Finns Party's parliamentary group, forming what would eventually become the Blue Reform party. One MP (Kike Elomaa) later returned to the Finns Party and another (Kaj Turunen) defected to National Coalition Party, leaving the Blue Reform with 18 and Finns Party with 17 MPs. Veera Ruoho furthermore defected to the National Coalition. Sipilä's government retained a majority in the Parliament as the Blue Reform continued as a member of the coalition and the Finns Party was moved to the opposition.[9]

On 8 March 2019, prime minister Sipilä resigned. However, that same day president Sauli Niinistö reappointed him as head of a caretaker government. According to Sipilä, his government collapsed because of the failure to reach agreement on the controversial health care reform. But several Finnish political analysts (Thomas Karv, Teivo Teivainen) interpreted his resignation as a strategic move that could give the coalition parties, Sipilä's Centre Party in particular, more freedom during the election campaign. Thus, the Centre Party might be able to revive itself in the polls, in which the party was lagging behind the Social Democrats.[10]

Campaign

After the Oulu child sexual exploitation scandal, support for the anti-immigration Finns Party surged from around 8.5% to 9% in late 2018 to 17.5% by the election.

The Social Democrats proposed raising taxes to fund the country's generous welfare system.[11]

The election saw "an unusual level of aggression on the campaign trail"[12] considering "attacks on politicians are rare in Finland".[13] In late March, a man struck Left Alliance candidate Suldaan Said Ahmed in the chest while calling him an infidel and pedophile[14] a day after a man wearing logos of far-right anti-immigrant group Soldiers of Odin attempted to attack Foreign Minister Timo Soini of the Blue Party.[13]

Electoral system

The 200 members of the Eduskunta were elected using proportional representation in 13 multi-member constituencies, with seats allocated according to the D'Hondt method. The number of elected representatives is proportional to the population in the district six months prior to the elections. Åland has single member electoral district and its own party system.[15] Compared to the last election in 2015, one seat has been reallocated from Savonia-Karelia to Uusimaa.

Electoral districtSeats
01 Helsinki22
02 Uusimaa36
03 Finland Proper17
04 Satakunta8
05 Åland1
06 Tavastia14
07 Pirkanmaa19
08 South-East Finland17
09 Savonia-Karelia15
10 Vaasa16
11 Central Finland10
12 Oulu18
13 Lapland7

Opinion polls

Results

Party Votes % Seats +/–
Social Democratic Party546,47117.7340+6
Finns Party538,80517.4839+1
National Coalition Party523,95717.0038+1
Centre Party423,92013.7631–18
Green League354,19411.4920+5
Left Alliance251,8088.1716+4
Swedish People's Party139,6404.5390
Christian Democrats120,1443.9050
Movement Now69,4272.251New
Blue Reform29,9430.970New
Pirate Party19,0320.6200
Åland Coalition11,6400.3810
Seven Star Movement11,3660.370New
Citizens' Party7,6450.250New
Feminist Party6,6620.220New
Liberal Party – Freedom to Choose5,0140.160New
Communist Party4,3050.1400
Animal Justice Party3,3780.110New
Independence Party2,4440.0800
Finnish People First2,3660.080New
Communist Workers' Party – For Peace and Socialism1,2400.0400
Aito suomalainen yhteislista5890.020New
Reform List5250.020New
Alternative for Åland3580.010
Rehtiliike yhteislista3440.010New
Yhteislista Jaana ja Leo870.000New
Independents6,6120.210
Total3,081,9161002000
Valid votes3,081,91699.42
Invalid/blank votes17,8440.58
Total votes cast3,099,760100
Registered voters/turnout4,255,46672.84
Source: Vaalit
Popular vote
SDP
17.73%
PS
17.48%
KOK
17.00%
KESK
13.76%
VIHR
11.49%
VAS
8.17%
SFP
4.53%
KD
3.90%
liik
2.25%
Others
3.68%
Parliament seats
SDP
20.00%
PS
19.50%
KOK
19.00%
KESK
15.50%
VIHR
10.00%
VAS
8.00%
SFP
4.50%
KD
2.50%
liik
0.50%
Others
0.50%

Government formation

During election debates, the Social Democrats, the National Coalition Party, Green League, Left Alliance, and the Swedish People's Party stated that they were interested in joining a coalition that does not include the Finns Party.[16] Despite being ruled-out by five parties, Finns Party chairman Jussi Halla-aho said that all parties should show responsibility when forming a coalition. He said the most responsible way to form a coalition is to include the Finns Party.[16]

Two weeks later, SDP chairman Antti Rinne, who was expected to lead the government, sent a questionnaire to each of the other parties, to assess their positions on various topics such as basic income, collective bargaining, climate change or health care reform.[17] Based on the answers and initial talks with all parties, Rinne announced that he would negotiate forming a government with Centre Party, Green League, Left Alliance and Swedish People's Party.[18] The negotiations were ultimately successful, and the Rinne Cabinet was formally inaugurated on 6 June.[19]

References

  1. "Nyt se ratkesi – Stubb sivuun, Petteri Orpo on kokoomuksen uusi puheenjohtaja". Ilta-sanomat. 11 June 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  2. "Li Andersson kruunattiin virallisesti puheenjohtajaksi". Iltalehti. 2016-06-11. Retrieved 2016-06-11.
  3. "Anna-Maja Henriksson valittiin Rkp:n puheenjohtajaksi – "Me teimme sen. Me rikoimme lasikaton!"". Helsingin sanomat. 12 June 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  4. "Kristillisdemokraattien uusi puheenjohtaja on Sari Essayah – haluaa malliksi Saksan sisarpuolue CDU:n". Helsingin Sanomat. 28 August 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  5. Upcoming Elections 2015-2030 Archived 2018-03-21 at the Wayback Machine, Vaalit.fi, accessed 3 June 2015.
  6. "Juha Sipilä jättää puheenjohtajan tehtävät, ei halua tulla tänään median eteen – Katso, miten puoluesihteeri kommentoi Sipilän eroa" (in Finnish). Yle. 16 April 2019. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  7. Sipilä opts for right-leaning government, YLE News 7 May 2015, accessed 3 June 2015.
  8. "Juha Sipilä valittiin äänin 128-62 pääministeriksi". Verkkouutiset. 2016-05-28. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
  9. "Hallituskriisi raukesi perussuomalaisten jakautumiseen: monivaiheinen politiikan superpäivä kerrattuna". Yle News. 13 June 2017. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  10. "Finland's Juha Sipilä Hopes to Turn Crisis into Election Reboot". Politico Europe. 10 March 2019. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  11. https://news.yahoo.com/finlands-top-candidate-prime-minister-says-wants-raise-075456854--business.html
  12. "Scuffles, suspected assault at Helsinki election event". Yleisradio Oy. April 13, 2019. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  13. "Attempted street attack on Foreign Minister Timo Soini". Yleisradio Oy. March 24, 2019. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  14. "Police probe attack on foreign-background election candidate in Helsinki". Yleisradio Oy. March 25, 2019. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  15. Electoral Districts Archived 2015-06-03 at the Wayback Machine, Vaalit.fi, accessed 3 June 2015.
  16. "Five party leaders reject idea of forming ruling coalition with Finns Party". helsinkitimes.fi. 2019.
  17. "SDP highlights economy, equality and education in search for govt partners". yle.fi. 26 April 2019.
  18. "Näin syntyi hallitusohjelmasta neuvotteleva uusi punamulta". Yle. 8 May 2019. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  19. "Finland's new government: SDP, Centre dominate ministerial portfolios". yle. 3 June 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2019.

Further reading

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