Svenska Yle is reporting that the four government parties (Centre, National Coalition, SFP and the Greens) have agreed to propose introducing a law that would make it necessary for political parties to win at least 3% of the vote in a parliamentary election in order to gain representation. Originally, a 3,5% minimum was proposed. SFP had strongly opposed this.
This move is a backwards step for democracy. Had it existed at the time, it is unlikely that smaller, more recent arrivals to parliament, such as the Greens and the True Finns would have made it in to the parliament. Regardless what one thinks of the True Finns, this would have been anti-democratic. It is particularly surprising perhaps that the Greens, now in government, support this regulation.
What this 3% minimum will do is to make it much harder for small parties to get a foothold in parliament in the future. Thus the 3% barrier will consolidate the positions of the exisiting parliamentary parties. It will particularly favour the largest parties; Centre, National Coalition and SDP. They may see their support increase, as people considering voting for a party that is predicted in opinion polls to only just make it over 3% may see voting for that party as dangerous for their vote, if it is to count. Instead, they might just give their vote to a bigger party, sure of getting over 3% instead. If introduced, this 3% barrier will lead to more wasted votes. Hardly democratic.