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On 1 January 2009, much of the western parts of the municipality of Sibbo (Sipoo) was forcibly incorporated in the city of Helsinki. This was against the wishes of the vast majority of Sibbo’s inhabitants, of both language groups. In a referendum, 93,3% voted against being incorporated in Helsinki, with only 5% in favour. Still, the central government voted in favour of Helsinki’s forced annexation of the western areas of the centuries old municipality, with only both ministers from the Swedish People’s Party and one lone Centre minister voting against – in accordance with the people’s will – in cabinet.
Today, 8 February 2012, the government finally released its long awaited proposal for the redrawing of Finland’s municipal boundaries. The government proposes cutting the number of municipalities in mainland Finland from today’s 320 to around 70. The municipal level of government in Finland is responsible for the delivery of many services, including healthcare and schools. It must be said that a reform is necessary: the economic situation in many rural, depopulating, ageing districts is very bad, affecting their ability to offer high quality services. Many small districts are compelled to form municipal joint organs with their neighbouring municipalities in order to provide services such as healthcare, with these being managed by less democratically accountable joint committees rather than the individual municipal councils that are directly and transparently elected by municipal residents. But, the government’s proposal appears rushed and ill thought out and plays little attention to linguistic rights and historical identities.
The government today proposes that Sibbo as a municipality is abolished, either subsumed into a super metropolis of a greater Helsinki or ripped into two and split between two neighbouring unilingually Finnish municipalities. Let’s not forget, that Sibbo was until 2003 a majority Swedish-speaking municipality. It was unilingually Swedish until 1953 and its demographics have only rapidly changed in recent decades due to mass internal migration from the Finnish-speaking interior to locations nearer the capital. Still today it has a strong Swedish minority. In an instance, the bureaucratic municipality reform risks sweeping away centuries of history and diminishing the rights of those Swedish-speakers that live in Sibbo.
But it is not just in Sibbo that linguistic rights are threatened with this reform. One proposal suggests that the northern portion of the bilingual municipality of Sjundeå is hived off and “unilingualised” as it is incorporated with its unilingual northern Finnish neighbours; at an instant, the rights of Swedish-speakers to services in their own language would be removed. In Österbotten, at least five majority Swedish-speaking municipalities would suddenly find themselves in new structures were Swedish was the language of only a third of the population.
Finland has two national languages. For Swedish to live in all domains, there must be administrative structures at all levels that operate using Swedish, including municipalities were the language of administration is Swedish. This would reduce these to barely more than a handful. And even outside of language considerations, this reform places local decision-making further away from the individual citizen.
A better idea would be for the government to consider the model in other countries, such as Sweden, where there are both elected counties and municipalities. The larger county level of government could be responsible for such things as the delivery of healthcare and public transportation, services that are more economically efficiently delivered by a larger body with a larger population base. In such a system, municipalities could remain as smaller units than the huge, faceless, unhistorical entities proposed by the government today. Local identities could remain intact meaning that people would remain engaged with local democracy due to living in districts they identified with.
Pictured: An old sign on the western border of Sibbo. Is the municipality about to go the same way as the region of Östra Nyland that was abolished already on 1st January 2011?
I am afraid I am not providing a live blog in this second round of voting. It would have been a surprise of earthquake proportions for Pekka Haavisto to beat Sauli Niinistö, and that earthquake has not happened. Voting closed just over ten minutes ago at 20.00 Finnish time and the results of advanced voting and the first election day counts have come in. With around 53% of votes counted, Sauli Niinistö has 65,5% of votes and Pekka Haavisto has 34,5%.
Whilst Haavisto was never going to truly challenge Niinistö for victory, this has been a special turning point of an election. A Green reached the second round sending a powerful signal in a society still partially shaken by the success of True Finns in April 2011′s parliamentary polls, a Social Democrat will not be elected president for the first time in three decades. It’s also historic in that Niinistö will win with the greatest level of popular support since the president was chosen by direct voting.
Sauli Niinistö, of the moderate conservative National Coalition party, will be sworn in as President of the Republic on 1 March 2012. You can expect his first foreign visits, almost certainly to Sweden and then later to Estonia as per tradition, shortly afterwards.
The final margin of Niinistö’s victory will become clear when all the votes are counted, which should be at or just before 22.00. If you want to follow the full results, you can do so on the Justice Ministry’s website here: http://184.108.40.206/TP2012K2/e/tulos/lasktila.html (in English language)
Update 20.38 Yle, the public service broadcaster, has just announced its forecast for the final result: Niinistö 62,9%, Haavisto 37,1%. Not a bad result for Haavisto considering his background, party, and the popularity of his opponent.
Update 20.40 It is now impossible for Haavisto to win. Even if all the existing votes that are uncounted were for him, there simply wouldn’t be enough votes to bridge the gap between him and Niinistö. 81,7% of votes are now counted.
Update 20.55 Turnout in this election is low – only 69%, but with large variations in different regions. The Finnish-speaking countryside has the lowest turnouts. Weather has been bad and these areas strongly support the Centre party, and thus perhaps have little motivation to scrape the ice off of the car to go and vote in this contest.
Update 22.30 100% of votes have been counted. The final result is:
- Sauli Niinistö 1 802 400 votes, 62,6%
- Pekka Haavisto 1 076 957 votes, 37,4%
22.23 100% of votes have been counted. The result of the first round of the Finnish presidential election 2012 is clear:
- Sauli Niinistö, National Coalition Party 37,0% Goes through to the second round of voting
- Pekka Haavisto, Green party 18,8% Goes through to the second round of voting
- Paavo Väryrynen, Centre party 17,5%
- Timo Soini, True Finns 9,4%
- Paavo Lipponen, Social Democratic Party 6,7%
- Paavo Ahrinmäki, Left Alliance 5,5%
- Eva Biaudet, Swedish People’s Party 2,7%
- Sari Essayah, Christian Democrats 2,5%
21.55 99,4 percent of votes counted. The second round is in two weeks time between Sauli Niinistö of the National Coalition party and Pekka Haavisto of the Greens. What will the campaign look like? It certainly seems likely those that voted for Väryrynen and Timo Soini will overwhelmingly give their support to Niinistö. Ahrinmäki’s are likely to go to Haavisto, as are many of Lipponen’s and Biaudet’s. The others are perhaps harder to say, some will go to Haavisto, others to Niinistö. Will we see a more even match in the second round than we’d ever have expected a few months ago? Who will the excluded losing candidates throw their support behind?
21.35 Around 97% of votes counted: not much has changed. It looks like it will be Niinistö against Haavisto in the second round of voting on 5 February.
21.17 Worth noting, that with 91% of votes counted, Haavisto received only 14,6% of votes cast during advanced voting, but so far 21,4% have gone to him on the actual voting day (today). Whilst Väryrynen’s support was stable (18 and 17,9% respectively). Tactical voting?
21.10 Professor Göran Djupsund says he would be “very surprised” if Haavisto was not second now. It is the urban vote that is disproportionately not counted yet and he is now on 18,5% to Väryrynen’s 17,7%.
21.02 Yle notes that Väryrynen didn’t even get 3000 votes in April 2011′s parliamentary election, when he lost his parliament seat.
20.59 Eva Biaudet of the Swedish People’s Party has done better than the party’s candidate, Henrik Lax, did in the last election in 2006. Then he won 1,6% of the vote, Biaudet is currently forecast to get 2,7% of the vote.
20.55 Yle’s forecast has been updated and now predicts Haavisto will go to the second round with 18% of the vote to Väryrynen’s 17,9%.
20.54 This screen dump from Yle shows their prognosis in full:
20.52 Yle’s prognosis, which is usually reliable, has finally been released by the national broadcaster. Yle forecasts that Paavo Väryrynen will go to the second round against Niinistö.
20.35 Yle reports many advanced votes from the cities Helsinki, Turku and Espoo have not been reported in yet! In other words, things will change a lot most likely. Many votes for Haavisto are likely amongst those waiting to be counted.This news is also delaying Yle’s election prognosis which the public service broadcaster had hoped to broadcast at 20.35.
20.33 For an illustration of the rural-urban divide: In the southern electoral district of Uusimaa/Nyland, the results are so far: Niinistö on top 45,9%, but Haavisto clear second on 17,1 with Väryrynen only on 9,3. But in rural Lapland, Niinistö has only 23,6% of the votes, Väryrynen actually comes first with a massive 43,8 of votes, whilst Haavisto has 9,5%. NB: Neither electoral district has concluded counting.
20.25 The Ministry of Justice’s results service is also available in English here.
20.23 Professor Göran Djupsund notes on Finlands Svenska Televisions results programme that the rural areas are quickest at counting their votes, which are Väyrynen strongholds. Pekka Haavisto’s support is likely to increase when results from the largest towns begin to be counted, particularly the capital region where the Greens have the strongest level of support traditionally.
20.18 Social Democrats’ candidate Paavo Lipponen says he’s disappointed with the result. Said he wanted to be in the second round as a counterweight to Niinistö and now the second round won’t be very interesting. He can’t say at this stage why he has not done better.
20.17 Timo Soini, the party leader and True Finns presidential candidate, admits he will not make the second round. But, he will not say who he will back in the second round, saying that he needs to see who will be in it first.
20.08 Sauli Niinistö thanking his campaign workers and looking forward to a good evening at his election night party.
20.05 Very much between Väyrynen and Haavisto in the battle for second place, with everything to play for between the two. Pekka Haavisto is in position two in bilingual municipalities.
20.02 40,2% for Niinistö of the National Coalition party in the advanced voting, 17,6% for Centre’s Väyrynen, Green’s Haavisto 14,8%, True Finns’ Soini 9,6%, Social Democrat’s Lipponen 7,3%, Left Alliance’s Ahrinmäki 5,7%, Christian Democrats’ Sari Essayah 2,6%, Swedish People’s Party Eva Biaudet 2,5%
20.00 Polling stations have closed. Results of advanced voting are being announced now…
19.59 Will the advanced voting results show a true picture of the final result? Around as many as a quarter of voters have stated they didn’t know who they were going to vote for in opinion polls before election day. Perhaps a lot of movement has happened in opinion since the last advanced votes were cast on Tuesday and those people who have voted today.
19.55 Sauli Niinistö’s campaign are obviously very confident of their victory: they’re holding their election night party at Hotelli Presidentti, “Hotel President”, in central Helsinki.
19.50 The newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet is reporting strong voting after lunch at polling stations in the capital region. Polling stations close in ten minutes at 20.00, after which the results of advanced voting (which have been counted already) will be announced. A reminded, that in a presidential election system, a candidate needs to win more than half of the votes in order to win in the first round. This has never happened since direct voting for the president was introduced in 1994. Should no candidate receive more than half the votes, a second round of voting will be held on 5 February between the two candidates who score the highest number of votes in this first round.
19.28 Whilst it would take an absolutely massive upset for anyone other than Sauli Niinistö to win this first round (and eventually the presidency), what is also certain is that the strong showing for Paavo Väyrynen will have aided his position within his party. Some in the Centre party had not be all to enthusiastic when it had emerged that he would be their candidate, including it is rumoured party leader Mari Kiviniemi. They feared Väyrynen was all too old fashioned and a bit of a loose canon. Yet, his Eurosceptic message seems to have gone home with voters – at least enough to ensure he will likely finish a strong second or third, something nobody would have predicted a few months back. What will his position be in the future? Could he even challenge the Kiviniemi for the party leadership? It would be a surprise, but don’t rule it out. Quite the come-back for a veteran of the Kekkonen era.
19.12 The Swedish People’s Party candidate Eva Biaudet is also not likely to perform strongly in advanced polling. In many Swedish-speaking areas, it is traditional to vote on the actual voting day (today). These results will only start to be counted at 20.00 when polls close. But, look for a fairly quick result in this election. It does not take a long time to count presidential ballot papers. By 20.35, the Finnish national broadcaster is looking to have its usually reliable forecast out. All the votes will probably be counted by 22.00.
19.07 Whilst many Finns, including me, have voted today on the actual polling day at the polling station nearest our homes, over 1,3 million Finnish citizens (or 32,7% of the electorate) have already cast their votes during the advanced voting period which was between 11-17 January. These votes started to be counted today, already in advance of the close of the polls at 20.00. Their results will be announced as soon as today’s voting ends at 20.00. So, we’ll already have a good idea of how large Sauli Niinistö’s lead is – will he win the presidency already in the first round? We might not have such a good idea of who is going to come second and challenge him in any second round though. The Centre party’s Paavo Väyrynen and the Green’s Pekka Haaviso have, in opinion polls, been neck and neck with around 11-12%. But Väyrynen is likely to perform disproportionately well in advanced voting as the Centre party secures much of its support from the Finnish-speaking countryside, where people tend to disproportionately vote in advance.
19.03 Welcome to this live election results blog. Polling stations in the Finnish presidential election 2012 close in just under one hour at 20.00. All times in this blog are Finnish time. We’re two hours ahead of GMT and one hour ahead of Central European Time.
The Ministry of Justice’s results web service will be updated from 20.00 with all the latest results from around the country, as they are reported. You can access it here.
Presidential election 2012
This blog has been a bit quiet lately, for which I apologise. But tomorrow will see the first round of voting in the Finnish Presidential Election 2012.
Eight candidates have been campaigning to succeed Tarja Halonen, who will retire after completing two terms – the maximum allowed under the constitution. The candidates are:
Sauli Niinistö (National Coaltion party) – the favourite by some margin, for months and months. There has been speculation that Niinistö could win the presidency without the need for a second round of voting (which is held between the two highest polling candidates, if no candidate receives more than half the votes in the first round). However, his lead has been dented through the last month of the campaign and it now looks likely that a second round will be necessary.
Pekka Haavisto (Greens) – has increased his popularity in the last month of the campaign and alongside the Centre party’s candidate, has the best chance of making it through to a second round. Popular predominantly amongst the young and in the capital region.
Paavo Väyrynen (Centre) – somewhat of a relic of the Kekkonen age, Väyrynen can be seen as a rather old school candidate. He’s tried to reinvent himself in this campaign as a more happy, laid back character and is perhaps this election campaign’s biggest surprise. He is now challenging for second place. Popular particularly in the Finnish-speaking countryside.
Timo Soini (True Finns) – the leader of the populist party has not seen his opinion poll prospects reflect his party’s big success in April’s parliamentary election. Many True Finns are set to back Väyrynen. According to Soini, that’s because they want to see Soini continue as party chairman in parliament.
Paavo Lipponen (Social Democratic Party) – a former SDP prime minister who has strongly supported the rights of the Swedish-speaking population. The oldest candidate in the election. His polling figures have been disappointingly low. He will not make the second round. The Social Democratic Party’s thirty year hold on the presidency will come to an end after Halonen leaves office.
Eva Biaudet (Swedish People’s Party) – the minority ombudsman. Has run a positive, upbeat campaign, considered a liberal, she has had trouble uniting SFP party supporters fully behind her in what is after all a largely personality based election. She also has run a campaign with a similar focus to Haavisto, and it’s likely that Finnish-speakers would rather vote for him.
Paavo Ahrinmäki (Left Alliance) – the youngest candidate has not always looked like a willing one. Perhaps he was almost forced to stand as the most prominent profile in the current Left Alliance party.
Sari Essayah (Christian Democrats) – a former athlete, Essayah has run a rather anonymous campaign. Denied in an tv-debate that the situation for Swedish-speakers in Finland has worsened and agreed with Soini that racism is not a problem in the country.
Tomorrow evening, after the polls have closed at 20.00, I will be back with a live election results blog. Will Niinistö win in the first round? Who will come second and challenge him in the second round of voting? Come back tomorrow evening to find out!
One of the jobs of the new(ish) government is to preside over the reform of Finland’s municipal map. This is important: municipalities deliver around two thirds of the official services used by citizens, with the central authorities of the Finnish state responsible for the other third. Basic services such as social and health care, schooling, libraries, adult education, transport infrastructure and waste removal are amongst those provided at the municipal level. At the start of this year there were 336 municipalities in Finland. Of these, 30 were bilingual (12 with a Swedish-speaking majority, 18 with a Finnish-speaking majority), 3 municipalities in mainland Finland are unilingually Swedish (there are an additional 16 unilingually Swedish municipalities on the autonomous Åland islands). 287 municipalities are unilingually Finnish-speaking. Mainland Finland’s smallest municipality is Suomenniemi in South Karelia with a mere 804 residents, Helsinki is the largest with almost 590 000 inhabitants.
The reform’s aim is to make the provision of service more efficient. Many municipalities are struggling financially, especially under the burden of providing healthcare in society in which people live all the longer. The government has determined new larger municipalities should be formed based on natural “commuting” areas. It is likely that this will be required to be sufficiently larger in population than many existing municipalities and debate is raging across the land in various districts on which municipalities would make the best partners for merger. It is vital that the will of the inhabitants and language is also considered when this takes place. We have already seen ill-prepared reforms of the police and court districts in which ‘unnatural’ districts were created in disregard to existing regional ties, for instance the Swedish-majority province of Österbotten was divided artificially in the police district reform, with the effect of enforcing Finnish-majority districts on it. We have also seen the way the will of inhabitants (both Finnish and Swedish-speaking) of Sibbo/Sipoo were ignored when Helsinki decided it wished to annex the western part of the municipality. Sibbo is now suffering as with the loss of income and inhabitants Helsinki’s forced annexation caused, it is now unlikely that Sibbo will survive the new municipal reforms as an independent entity: indeed, it may even be split up, with bits of it being merged with three different municipalities – truly historical butchery.
It is time now for Swedish and bilingual municipalities to organise themselves so that where mergers are necessary, they consider the best solution for minting Swedish as a living language of administration in Finland, so that Swedish-speaking Finns can also access good quality services in their mother tongue in the future. There is a serious danger that traditional local rivalry between municipalities or head in the sand attitudes based on the misguided dream that this will all blow over will inhibit sensible solutions to be found, and municipalities will be forced into merging with less suitable partners by the central government.
Still, I can not help but think the whole basis of this reform is misguided and rushed. We should be thinking of a more sensible way of managing the services that are currently delivered by municipalities. In an age of expensive medical treatment, is it really sensible for the smallest level of government to have responsibility for the delivery of healthcare? Could we not look to other countries for a better model. For instance, Sweden still has two levels of local government: counties and municipalities. It is the larger counties that are responsible for the delivery of the larger scale services that can not efficiently be delivered at municipal level: for instance, healthcare and public transport. This would work well in Finland. Imagine a newly beefed up county council for the whole of Uusimaa/Nyland, it would easily be able to offer healthcare – and a more integrated public transport system. Municipalities could retain their local identities and still be responsible for a wide range of services such as schooling. There would be no need for most municipalities to have to consider abandoning years of history and local identity by entering into hastily arranged forced marriages.
Presidential Election 2012
The Ombudsman for Minorities Eva Biaudet has been unveiled as the Swedish People’s Party’s candidate in next January’s presidential elections. Biaudet must receive the endorsement of the party’s conference meeting in October, but this is thought to be a mere formality. She announced her candidacy yesterday at a press conference alongside former SFP presidential candidate Elisabeth Rehn, who made it through to the second round against eventual victor Martti Ahtisaari in the 1994 presidential race. SFP’s previous leaders and other prominent figures from the party were also alongside Biaudet, showing that she has widespread support at least amongst the party’s top. She had been widely tipped as being SFP’s candidate for some time in the media.
Before being minorities ombudsman, Biaudet worked at the OSCE in Vienna on issues surrounding human trafficking. She has previously been a government minister and parliament member in Finland.
Biaudet could prove to reach out across the language divide and pick up Finnish-speaking votes. Whilst I can’t see her repeating the success of Rehn in 1994, she is a liberal figure that may prove popular amongst those disappointed with the current harder debate climate on matters such as immigration bought about largely because of the recent rise of the True Finns party in national politics. She is also looking likely to be the only woman amongst a field of otherwise ageing men in grey suits. She is also untainted by recent national political involvement which could prove to be an advantage, she also has international experience. I personally think that Biaudet is a great candidate in this election. Someone who would provide Finland with a respectable figurehead internationally at this time when our reputation has become somewhat tainted by the populist wave experienced during our parliamentary elections. It is also important that SFP has a candidate in the election. Even if there is little chance of an SFP candidate getting to the second round or elected, the election provides many forums to debate political issues, even those not directly related to the president’s limited powers. SFP needs to be there debating these issues otherwise it risks becoming invisible to the electorate. With a candidate in the election, SFP can now be sure to be able to take part in the coming debates in the run up to the January election.
And let’s not forget, a lot can happen during this autumn and winter. No one would have predicted that Elisabeth Rehn would have made the second round in 1994 at this stage of the campaign. So, let’s not rule anything out just yet.
Pictured: Eva Biaudet (left) and Elisabeth Rehn (right)
Finland’s new prime minister, the national coalition party’s Jyrki Katainen, made his first foreign trip to Sweden yesterday. In Stockholm he met with Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. Reinfeldt and Katainen have known each other for many years as they were both active in their respective parties’ youth organisations at roughly the same time. Reinfeldt heads Sweden’s Moderate Party, our western neighbour’s ideological equivalent of Katainen’s party.
Following their meeting, the pair hosted a press conference at Rosenbad, the Swedish government’s press centre. These two prime ministers, both of countries which have Swedish as their official languages, conducted it in English. I think it is fair to guess that this was not at Reinfeldt’s insistence. There is something very strange about the Prime Minister of the bilingual Finland choosing to speak English at a press conference with a Scandinavian neighbour. Can you imagine the Canadian prime minister visiting Paris and not conducting matters in French? It would be simply unthinkable.
Speaking afterwards, Katainen explained that he likes the Swedish language but that in such a situation he preferred to speak English because he had not given Swedish the time he should have earlier in life. He stressed that no symbolism should be read into his choice of language in Stockholm. Yet, how can one not see any symbolism? The Prime Minister of a bilingual country can not even manage to speak one of its official languages in a press conference in a Nordic context? Embarrassing at the very least. The assembled journalists must have certainly thought it odd.
In fairness to Katainen, he has notably made an effort to communicate in Swedish during last months electoral campaigning and government negotiation process here in Finland. His Swedish is not particularly good, but he has improved it since taking the chairmanship of his party. So, it is difficult to really argue that he has an utterly negative attitude towards Swedish as a language or to the people that speak it in this country. That said, he has been absent in any loud criticism of his party’s youth wing which is increasingly anti-Swedish (and anti-immigrant) in its attitudes. Above all, it is a sad day when a Finnish prime minister can not communicate with our Nordic neighbours without having to resort to a foreign language.
Yesterday, exactly two months to the day since the parliamentary election on 17 April, Finland’s government negotiations finally concluded. The moderate conservative Kokoomus party, the Social Democrats, Left Alliance, Greens, Swedish People’s Party, and Christian Democrats finally came to agreement on a government programme. The leader of Kokoomus, Jyrki Katainen, is now set to become Finland’s next Prime Minister.
The new government programme is marked by many compromises. It is a broad coalition of ideologically diverse parties that Katainen has been forced to sow together after the success of the True Finns, and their massive gain in seats, in April’s election.
The Swedish People’s Party (SFP) will get the positions of Defence Minister and Justice Minister. Party chairman Stefan Wallin will fill the defence portfolio, whilst the parliament member from Jakobstad and current chairman of Folktinget (the Swedish Assembly in Finland) Anna-Maja Henriksson will lead the Justice Ministry. She is also a lawyer by education. These are heavy-weight portfolios and give SFP more influence than in the last government. Defence will ensure that Wallin is able to protect the Swedish-speaking Nylands brigad when necessary defence budget cutbacks are announced. Justice also has a role in linguistic policy, in e.g. courts and administrative district reforms. Henriksson’s ministry will also be responsible for the shaping of the reforms of Åland’s autonomy, which is expected to be expanded during this government’s mandate.
SFP has also managed to ensure that much of the action plan of former President and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Martti Ahtisaari on how Finland’s bilingual nature will be strengthened is included in the new government’s programme.
Naturally, the most important mission for the new government will be to balance the economy. This is going to mean cut-backs in many areas. It will be interesting to see if this does not lead to conflict between the individual parties as they try to limit the extent of these cut-backs to areas that particularly effect their electorate or the areas covered by their ministries. It could be a bumpy ride, in spite of yesterday’s agreement on a comprehensive government programme.
Pictured: Anna-Maja Henriksson (SFP), Finland’s incoming Justice Minister
Government formation negotiations, Wednesday evening update
The Social Democrats and the Left Alliance have walked out of negotiations to form a new government, following 17 April’s parliamentary elections. According to Yle, the two parties could not agree with the others on economic policy matters. The moderate conservative Kokoomus party is leading discussions as the largest party. Kokoomus party chairman Jyki Katainen has said he will contact the Centre party already today to see if they are interested in joining negotiations with the remaining parties at the table, Katainen hopes now to form a non-socialist government comprising of his own Kokoomus, Centre, the Swedish People’s Party, and the Christian Democrats.
The Centre Party has previously made it very clear that it would sit in opposition during this parliament after it received a drubbing in the April elections. It remains to be seen as to whether Centre will do a U-turn and say yes to entering government (or at least the negotiations to form one).
Another risk is that the second place Social Democrats try to take the lead in forming a government. Some SDP voices have previously noted that they regretted that the True Finns were not going to sit in the coming government. SDP and True Finns share many similarities in economic policy, an area that will dominate this parliamentary term due to the global economic situation. It’s unlikely, but could the worst case scenario involve Timo Soini’s True Finns sitting in the next Finnish government after all?