Wednesday. 26.06.2019
El tiempo

The angriest country in the world

The Social Democrats (SDP) narrowly defeated the far-right True Finns and will return to lead the formation of the Government after 20 years

The angriest country in the world

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) of Finland, led by former trade unionist Antti Rinne, narrowly won the parliamentary elections held on 14 April.

With 17.7% of the votes and 40 seats, the Social Democrats defeated the extreme right-wing party True Finns, which won 17.5% and 39 seats with a campaign based on the rejection of foreigners and the European Union (EU).

If once again the unwritten rule that the most voted party forms the government is fulfilled, the socialists will return to lead the country's Government after 20 years. And they will do so by benefiting from the tremendous anger that Finland has been experiencing for some years.

The country that claims to be the happiest in the world has lived through the last few years of right-wing rule shaken by austerity policies, social cuts and privatizations. Like the one tried to apply by former Primer Minister Juha Sipilä to the health system (SOTE), which in March caused the premature fall of the Government. Or the one applied in the elderly care system, which led to a tremendous scandal for the negligence that caused the death of several people and that is being investigated by the authorities.

Therefore, it is not surprising that the winners of the electoral night of April 14 were his leftist opponents (SDP and Vasemmistoliitto) and the extreme right-wingers and xenophobes True Finns (Perussuomalaiset), a party that less than two years ago was split in two and in serious crisis.

The Socialists (SDP) attended these elections with the promise of spending 1.5 billion euros to strengthen the welfare state and recover what was lost. For their part, the True Finns based their campaign on blaming the EU and the foreigners for all the problems of the country.

Impoverishment and wage gap

Finland, with 5.5 million inhabitants and around 6.6% of the population with foreign origin, is one of the EU countries with the lowest percentage of immigrants. And they were not immigrants who elected the Government that in the last 4 years pissed off the population with policies that provoked an impoverishment of the middle class and an increase in the wage gap.

The good result of the True Finns is also explained because they have managed to capitalize better than anyone else another kind of anger, this one caused by the arrest a few months before the campaign in Oulu of a group of men of foreign origin accused of sexual abuse of minors.

These crimes, perpetrated by a score of people, horrified the vast majority of Finnish society, including immigrants. But they were used by the True Finns to shake feelings of xenophobia against the more than 380,000 people of foreign origin living in the country. Meanwhile, the rest of the parties surprisingly insisted on centering the campaign on climate change.

The night of 14 April was also a happy night for the leaders of the Green League (20 seats) and the Left Alliance (16 seats).

The big loser was the center-right (Keskusta) of former Prime Minister Juha Sipila, who paid all the wrath of the voters and lost 18 seats, down to 31. The rightist National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) advanced one seat and got 38. The Swedish People's Party got 9 seats and the Christian Democratic Party 5.

Full results

Election results

Source: the Finnish Parliament (Eduskunta).

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