Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I'd say the actual shift in these elections was clear turn to left, although it's rather difficult to assess the degree of the turn. The most obvious sign is that the left-wing parties (Social Democrats and Left Coalition) gained seats. It was the first successful campaign for the Left Coalition in 25 years (their chairperson is the most popular Finnish politician). If one counts the Greens as leftist party (and the right-wing parties do!), the left gained 16 seats in the parliament. So there actually was a shift of 32 seats towards the left of political spectrum in a 200 seat parliament.

Now, the much difficult shift to gauge is the one internal for parties. During last night several talking heads in telly did mention that the Social Democrats were forced to move towards left during the campaign to gain traction in their own base. And at the same time the conservatives, Coalition Party, has been loosing ground in the local elections to the Green party and it could be their social liberal wing is gaining upper hand over their market liberal wing to respond to the threat from Greens.

A god example of this phenomenoma is the mayor of Helsinki, who represents the old guard of Coalition Party, but has gone all pro-LGTB and socially conscious conservative to collaborate with and stand ground against the Greens in Helsinki. The market liberal wing of Coalition Party hates him, since he had a big part in destroying their wet dream of privatizing health care by publicly opposing the policy and getting other big cities to oppose it too. Now, whether he's building his own base for possible presidency, or just honestly defending his city against idiots of his own party is anybody's guess. Anyway, last night Coalition Party leadership seemed to accept a future in opposition, where they may need to fight True Finns for spotlight. They do have the most loyal voter base, though.

While the Greens may have forced the center-right to move slightly towards center, it's difficult to say where they stand themselves. The party makes a lot of noise about being "above" the left-right divide. The group making most of the noise are mainly liberals who found a new home in Greens sometime in the early 90's. Somehow they managed capture the party leadership to the extend that many took the party as a "gardening division of the Coalition Party".

On the other hand, the Greens also have a wing that is aligned quite well with the Left Coalition, but that wing is slowly leaking into the Left Coalition, since that party is about as urbanite green as the Greens themselves. And yet, the base of the party probably is mostly center-left, and so seem to be the party's new members of parliament when skimming trough their personal alignments and stands (all medias in Finland invite all candidates to answer questionnaires that try define where they stand in different issues and electorate can then take the same quiz to find candidates that best correspond to their answers). Basically they seem to be against austerity and for equality in society, but don't really agree on how to get there.

The Center party was decimated, it was their worst performance in over 100 years, and it's quite obvious it was because they did lead the most right-wing government in Finland since 1920's. It seems that their base mostly stayed at home. The chairperson and former prime minister is both a somewhat randian and a devout christian (in a love thy neighbourgh way), so was very confused in his policies and was relatively easy for the Coalition Party to turn to the dark side. By taking the True Finns to his government he also managed to make racism and hate "allowed" in Finland, which most people find hard to forgive him and the Central Party.

The true True Finns (after a minor split to Blue Future, that basically disappeared in the election) managed to held onto their seats, even though many predicted their base to be absent. They remain the second biggest party in the parliament, but several other parties have already declared them to be unsuitable for collaboration. Considering that their main issue is migration policy based on the 2016 refugee masses that have completely disappeared, they really don't have anything there to offer except irrational fears that prevent any decent discussion about migration. They also don't believe in climate change, unlike all the other parties, so there's no common ground there, either. They are also mostly against Euro and EU...well, being populists, they are basically against things, so there's really no fertile ground to form a government program with them. Unless they are willing to lose a big chunk of their base in a collision with reality.

Finally the Social Democrats. It's way too early to say if they will experience this drift to the left, too. They "won" the election becoming the biggest party in parliament, by one seat. As said earlier, they did have to present themselves as more leftists to gain back some of their base. Their most popular candidate is actually aligned more closely to Left Coalition than her own party. And she's not the only one. I guess a rule of thumb could be that members from big cities tend to be more left (or even communist!), from small cities more aligned with right, and from rural areas they are quite centrist (as in aligning  with Center Party agrarian politics).
The current leader comes from labor unions, which have a strong presense in the party. The problem with that is that labor unions have amassed huge fortunes to use for imbursing strikers. Absent of any long strikes, the unions tend to press the party for policies that add to the unions wealth. In other words, not really benefiting the party base.

There's yet a minor possibility, that in today's verification count Social Democrats may loose a seat to Center Party in Western Finland district. Yesterdays count was preliminary, the results are not valid until every vote has been counted again. Usually the preliminary results stand as is, but sometimes the d'Hondt system produces oddities. For example in Lapland, the second most popular candidate, from Greens, did not make it to the parliament, loosing to a Center Party candidate who got only half of her personal votes. There's already a suggestion to change the system for smaller districts (by population) to make it easier for small parties to succeed.

And sorry about the wall of text. I've been lurking here for years, but rarely have had anything to add to the discussion. It seems I did it now all at once...

by pelgus on Mon Apr 15th, 2019 at 01:49:16 PM EST
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