A Shocking Defeat for the Left

The parliamentary elections in Finland mid April resulted in a major defeat for the left. The expected victory for the Left Alliance changed into a defeat from 8.1 % support in 2011 to 7.1 % now. A loss of seats from 14 to 12.

Combined with the defeat from 8.8 % in 2011, the Left Alliance has experienced a loss of 1.7 % in eight years, which is about 20 % of relative support. From the height of popularity in 1995, when the party gained 11.2 % in parliamentary elections, the figures have come down by 4.1 %, which is 37 % of the peak support level. 

The elections were also a personal defeat for the party leader Paavo Arhinmäki: the loss of personal votes from 17,000 in 2011 to 7,800 in 2015. A positive phenomenon is the rise of Li Andersson with more than 15,000 personal votes. Andersson is a 27-year old red-green celebrity, after these elections expected or at least hoped by many to be the next chairperson of the party in 2016.

The social democrats lost even more, from 42 seats to 34 seats, in percentages from 19.1 % 16.5 %. Combined with previous loss of 2.3 % in 2011, the setback of the social democrats is 4.9 % in eight years. It is now the fourth biggest party only, a position it has never had never before. The joint support of the left reached again its all-time low, 23.6 %.

However, the Greens advanced by 1.3 % and increased their seat number from 10 to 15. Some of the left voters probably went behind the greens.

The True Finns lost only 1 seat from 39 to 38 and stabilized their position as a big party. They are now the second biggest party measured by seats in the parliament. The most probable government coalition seems to be now a pure right-wing government, formed by the Centre Party, True Finns and National Coalition Party, holding altogether about 125 seats out of 200.

In numbers, Finland turned toward the right, however the personal opinions of the new MP’s are more value-liberal than before. Also for the first time Finland has two migrant-background MP’s.