[fyeg_gen-l] Election results from finland

Panu Laturi panu at luna.vihrealiitto.fi
Thu Mar 20 13:42:41 CET 2003


The Finnish Greens have come back to work after the victory party :)
Thank you all for your warm congratulations!

In the elections for the Finnish parliament on 16 March, the Greens League
increased its seats from 11 to 14 (8,0% of votes, 28 000 new votes). This is
a victory for the party: we were able to grow from the category of around 10
seats (the result in the three previous elections 1991, 1995 and 1999), to a
party of almost 15 seats.

The three new seats are
1) in Uusimaa district:  Ms. Heidi Hautala (MEP, huge 12 000 personal votes
in her district)
2) in Pirkanmaa (Tampere) Ms. Rosa Meriläinen (deputy spokesperson of the
party, former delegate for EFGP Council)
3) in Northern Carelia Ms. Tarja Cronberg (first Green seat from the Easter
part of the country, very important!)

Our parliament group consists now of three men and eleven women, there are
four newcomers.

The sad news is that we were expecting a new 5th seat from Helsinki but we
were not able to keep the 23,5% support of local elections in 2000 and the
position of the second biggest party of the capital but had to satisfy with
18% and 4 MPs. This was mainly due to the ability of the Social democrats to
get their supporters to vote - local elections of 2000 was a total disaster
for them.

The election results of all parties are (results of 1999 as comparison)

Centre party   24,7 % (+2,3 %)   55 seats (+7 seats) 689 147 votes (+ 88 555
SDP                24,5 % (+1,6 %)   53 seats (+2 seats) 682 819 votes (+ 69
856 votes)
Conservatives 18,5 % (+2,5 %)   40 seats (-6 seats) 517 171 votes (- 46 664
Left Alliance     9,9 % (-1,0 %)   19 seats (-1 seats)  276 756 votes  (-14
919 votes)
The Greens        8,0 % (+0,7 %)  14 seats (+3 seats) 223 267 votes  (+28
421 votes)
Christian democrats  5,3 % (+1,2 %)  7 seats (-3 seats) 148 965 votes (+37
130 votes)
Swedish Peoples Party 4,6 % (-0,5 %)  8 seats (-3 seats) 128 617 votes (-8
713 votes)
True Finns           1,6 % (+0,6 %)  3 seats (+2 seats) 43 791 votes (+17
351 votes)

The opposition party, the Centre party, won the elections: they got 7 new
seats and they are now the biggest party. This means that they will lead the
negotiations to build the new government. Also the party of the present
social democrat Prime minister Paavo Lipponen, SDP, increased its support,
but only with two seats, and it is the second biggest party now. The
Conservatives lost 7 seats. They are more and less out of the game now,
unless the SDP and the Centre are unable to come to an agreement about the
government coalition and a programme. (There are three main parties in
Finland, SDP, Conservatives and the Centre, two of which always form the
coalition, one in opposition.)

We don't know yet if the Greens can take part in the government
negotiations. The Centre party and SDP have alone the majority in the
parliament, but for sure they will take 2-3 other parties into the
coalition. If the Greens are in that group remains to be seen. We have
expressed our interest in participating.

The Green campaign suffered from a serious attack on us by the media and the
other parties on drug policy. We had great difficulties in brining up our
own themes - the drug policy was not on our list!! - and the whole party
suffered severely from the radical statements and actions of a handful of
Green candidates. We estimate that 1-2 seats were lost because of this
episode, but we were expecting much worse!

The election campaign in the media focused very much on the question of who
will be the next prime minister after the 8 years' rule of the SDP. The
challenger was the Centre party with a new female face as the party leader,
since the spokesperson of the Conservative party was not seen as a credible
option. As a result of this media campaign, these two parties with a
potential Prime minister gained new seats while all other parties - EXCEPT
the Greens - lost some. It will be interesting to study who were the new
Green voters - and if we can win back those old supporters who left us
because of the drug episode.

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