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Kaunisto Profile
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2019 Finnish parliamentary election


Couple months to the election, but let's start early to get some looks at polls and for me to give some long explanations on Finnish politics.


The basic setting has for almost all hundred years of history of independent Finland been that there are three major parties: Coalition (right, upper and middle class), Centre (formerly Farmers' Union, rural areas) and Social Democrats (left, urban working class).
Occasionally Social Democrats have been strong enough to make it Left vs Center-Right, but mostly the three alter with two forming government and one being main opposition.

This was broken in 2011 and 2015 elections when the populist-right (True) Finns Party became third and then second largest. Following that they formed current government with Centre (as the largest/prime minister party) and Coalition.
But then the Finns Party imploded. After more moderate former leaders of the party were pushed aside, they - including all ministers and half of parliament members of the party - left to form a new party, Blue Reform aka the Blues. Support of Finns has fallen to half of their best times while Blues struggles to be a thing.

Other parties with parliament seats along last decades are Greens, Left Alliance, Swedish People's Party and Christian Democrats.

The upcoming election has couple extra wild cards. Former minister, four-time presidential candidate and long time leader of Centre Paavo Väyrynen is trying to start his own "7 Star Movement" (referring to Italian 5 Star Movement and, I guess, Big Dipper). "Movement Now" is a group started by an MP which says it's not a party and aims to challenge the traditional party system.

Additionally one of the 200 parliament seats is reserved to the autonomous Åland Islands, with their own party/parties. The Åland representative usually cooperates with the Swedish People's Party.


Latest poll:

SDP: 20,1%
Coalition: 17,3%
Centre: 15,6%
Green: 14,6%
Finns: 12%
Left: 8,6%
Swedish: 4,0%
Christian: 3,6%
Blue: 1,4%
other: 2,7%

Last edited by Kaunisto, Feb/12/2019, 21:35


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Feb/12/2019, 21:18 Link to this post Send PM to Kaunisto
 
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Re: 2019 Finnish parliamentary election


A quick look at each party, approximately right to left:


Finns, formerly using English name True Finns (I'd translate the name Basic or Common Finns) is now slipping from populist-right to far-right. With the reasonable moderate members gone as the Blue Reform, the remaining Finns Party is starting to be in same position as Sweden Democrats: none of the other parties will accept them into government.

After breaking up from Finns, the Blue Reform continued as part of current government, putting them into an unprecedented situation: party has several ministers (including foreign and defense) and almost tenth of parliament seats, but only about 1% popular support and may fall out of parliament in coming election.
There just isn't an audience for the Blues: far-right and populists go to Finns, moderate conservatives to coalition or Christian Democrats.

Christian Democrats, formerly Christian Party, are the only value conservative party. On one hand they have very steady support, but on the other they have been slowly falling last decades (never having been much bigger).

According Wikipedia, National Coalition Party is "considered to be liberal, conservative and liberal-conservative" - some may be confused with that. They are the capitalists of Finland. Coalition is the only clearly pro-NATO party.
Current president Niinistö is from Coalition (though the Finnish system very strongly emphasizes that president is member of no party and acts independent from party politics).

I said Centre began as Farmers' Union; exact official English title would've been "Agrarian League". With Finns, they are the most anti-EU party, though current prime minister Sipilä hasn't really shown such sentiment. Centre has often been the largest/prime minister party, yet they haven't been able to win presidency since Kekkonen 1956-1981 (after him presidents were limited to two 6-year terms).
Having support or rural and low-population areas, Centre usually dominates most of the map.

About 5% of people in Finland are native Swedish speakers, making it the other official language. The Swedish People's Party has them as a steady base. Historically the Swedish speakers have been upper class - the colonial masters - and therefore SPP has been leaning right, usually allied itself with Coalition.
However modernly the Swedish speakers aren't that clearly "old money" people and the party is trying to widen its base, rebranding itself as party of all minority rights: gay rights, immigrants, native Sami people of north... so far with not much result.
SPP had for decades agreed to join/support every government until current; all they ask is keeping Swedish as the other official language, equal to Finnish. (Which is why I had to learn Swedish at school for 6 years.)

Social Democrats are the main left, party that works and cooperates much with the strong worker unions of Finland. SDP has for long been about equal in size with Coalition and Centre, but managed to hold presidency for three decades before Niinistö.

Green Party has been slowly growing, expanding from original environmental agenda to minority rights, social issues etc.
Supported by young urban leftists - which has the weakness that those are people least certain to vote.

Left Alliance are the real socialists. The party was for decades the fourth largest, but has started fading on this century. The Left used to be the populists and there's a strange competition between furthest right and left parties for some same voters. They've also been strong in north, competing with Centre.

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Feb/13/2019, 17:33 Link to this post Send PM to Kaunisto
 
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Re: 2019 Finnish parliamentary election


Yesterday was the last day to become candidate (I guess I'm still not running for parliament) and foreign minister Timo Soini put last nail in the coffin of Blue Reform by announcing he's not running.

Latest poll (before Soini's announcement):

SDP: 21,3%
Coalition: 18,1%
Centre: 14,1%
Green: 13,2%
Finns: 11,2%
Left: 9,0%
Swedish: 4,1%
Christian: 4,1%
Blue: 2,3%
other: 2,6%

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Mar/6/2019, 14:07 Link to this post Send PM to Kaunisto
 
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Re: 2019 Finnish parliamentary election


In a highly unusual move, prime minister Sipilä has suddenly resigned only about month before election - when normally parliament would be taking a break, doing only most urgent legislation just before election.
So the act is pretty meaningless, but showy as it's hardly ever done and prime minister is expected to continue until new cabinet has been negotiated after election.
This is mostly an outrageous stunt to stop the fall of his party on polls, desperate last minute trick.

Sipilä does have an excuse. The "social and welfare reform" (and related regional reform) that have been this government's main program (though started by earlier one) is failing to be completed, or become real at all. sipilä had hoped parliament would not take the usual break and would push through the reform during last month, but it has been observed there are too many unsolved conflicts with constitution in the created giant package of laws (mainly about power being taken from city councils).
There's no way this reform will happen now and after the election the likely winner social Democrats will take it to a very different direction.


My opinion is that the Sipilä cabinet has been the worst government this country has had in my lifetime. Might have something to do with it being the furthest right one also.
They've put elderly care into literally scandalous state. They've made getting unemployment benefits such obstacle course that over quarter of receivers were certain to lose theirs. They've probably had more of their proposed laws found unconstitutional than any cabinet since WWII (not that we've ever looked into that too carefully though). And they've been pushing through these huge reforms without any attempt to work with opposition, without any consideration that something like this will need future popular and parliamentary support to be effective.
They've made a great legislative mess and I'm not sure if the next four years are enough to fix it.
Meanwhile, I'll admit they made economy better - by cuts on various things like education; before election Sipilä specifically said numerous times that there would be no cuts on education (including to students in a school on live TV). But hey, they're not making "cuts", they just rearrange use of money so that less is spend.

I'll be happy to see Centre go down in flames after this... except bunch of their voters will go to Finns, the only worse option.

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Mar/8/2019, 15:04 Link to this post Send PM to Kaunisto
 
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Re: 2019 Finnish parliamentary election


Few weeks to go.

Latest poll:

SDP: 21,0%
Coalition: 18,1%
Centre: 14,3%
Green: 14,0%
Finns: 11,1%
Left: 8,9%
Swedish: 4,4%
Christian: 4,2%
Blue: 1,2%
other: 2,8%


Some parties typically do better in polls than actual elections and vice versa. Green Party is the most common to perform better in polls, while Centre does in elections.

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Mar/20/2019, 14:54 Link to this post Send PM to Kaunisto
 
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Re: 2019 Finnish parliamentary election


Latest poll:

SDP: 20,1%
Coalition: 15,8%
Finns: 15,1%
Centre: 14,4%
Green: 13,0%
Left: 9,8%
Swedish: 4,3%
Christian: 3,5%
Blue: 0,9%
other: 3,1%


My prediction for next government (has been for a while): SDP, Coalition, Greens and Swedish.
That won't be sturdy, but there's not much options. Nobody will work with Finns, Centre just can't continue in power after the mess they've made last four years (and now losing election), Left Alliance has said it's almost impossible for them to work with Coalition, Blues are likely out with zero seats... Christian Democrats could be the extra support party, but they won't have good time with Greens (and Swedish).

Either way, unless they can pull off a helluva "rainbow" government (everyone, but Centre and Finns?), there has to be at least three parties in position to break the next government.

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Mar/29/2019, 15:56 Link to this post Send PM to Kaunisto
 
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Re: 2019 Finnish parliamentary election


so called "election compass" by Finnish public broadcasting
(I set it to my own election district)

It's 30 questions with 5 options from agree to disagree.
I'd like you to give it a try and tell me which candidates and parties it would suggest you to vote.

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Mar/31/2019, 14:50 Link to this post Send PM to Kaunisto
 
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Re: 2019 Finnish parliamentary election


Early voting is relatively high; election day at sunday.

Of the current 200 MPs 35 are not running. With Finns expected to take seats and Blues possibly losing all, I think it quite possible a third of parliament will change, probably most in long time.
Several notable politicians are retiring, particularly from Centre (which is headed to disaster...)

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Apr/10/2019, 19:51 Link to this post Send PM to Kaunisto
 
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Re: 2019 Finnish parliamentary election


Latest poll:

SDP: 19,0%
Finns: 16,3%
Coalition: 15,9%
Centre: 14,5%
Green: 12,2%
Left: 8,7%
Swedish: 4,9%
Christian: 4,3%
Blue: 0,8%
other: 3,4%


Looks like forming next government is going to be difficult. I still think SDP, Coalition, Greens and Swedish is the probable combination.

I believe there's never been an election in Finland (parliamentary, local, presidential nor EU parliament) where no party has gotten at least 20% of votes.
Hard to say where this shift is taking the country.

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Apr/11/2019, 14:32 Link to this post Send PM to Kaunisto
 
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Re: 2019 Finnish parliamentary election


Finnish Parliamentary election results:

(seats/change/% of votes/change)

SDP: 40/(+6)/17,7 %/(+1,2 %)

Finns: 39/(+1)/17,5 %/(-0,2 %)

Coalition: 38/(+1)/17,0 %/(-1,2 %)

Centre: 31/(-18)/13,8 %/(-7,3 %)

Green: 20/(+5)/11,5 %/(+3,0 %)

Left: 16/(+4)/8,2 %/(+1,0 %)

Swedish: 9/(0)/4,5 %/(-0,3 %)

Christian: 5/(0)/3,9 %/(+0,4 %)

Other (independent): 2/(+1)/2,9 %/(+2,3 %)

(not including small parties that didn't receive seats)

("Other" includes representative from Åland Islands autonomous area for which one seat is reserved)

Last edited by Kaunisto, Apr/15/2019, 0:02


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Apr/14/2019, 23:58 Link to this post Send PM to Kaunisto
 


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