The Left managed to win by a clear margin in the elections in Finland. Increasing their share of the vote by 3.4 per cent, the Left Alliance was able to rightly call itself the real winner of these elections. This result also meant the Left Alliance’s return to the European parliament. Their new MEP is Merja Kyllönen, a former minister of transport who is now entering her second term as MEP.
The general election results provided few surprises, as opinion polls gave a largely accurate prediction of the final results. As expected, the conservatives and the centre party were the biggest winners. The most interesting element of the centre party’s result was the conflicting attitudes towards European integration shown by the top candidates with both a leading eurosceptic and a current EU commissioner being elected.
The right-wing populist True Finns party clearly expected an electoral victory. Despite the fact that they performed better than they did in the 2009 European election, their support, which peaked during the 2011 parliamentary elections, is now on the decline, and they were hard pushed to call this result a victory. The social democrats finished behind the True Finns with a humiliating defeat, scoring a historically low 12.3 per cent. This catastrophe will call for deep self-reflection within the SDP.
The Greens also scored considerably lower than in 2009, losing their second MEP. However, this was somewhat expected, as the 2009 score was unusually high. The last seat went to the Swedish People’s Party, which managed to keep its MEP (who is incidentally a former Marxist radical).
The Left gained ground in almost all areas of the country. In the Helsinki constituency the Left Alliance finished third, ahead of both True Finns and the Social Democrats. In the Suomussalmi constituency, home to freshly-elected MEP Kyllönen, the Left Alliance won 50.7% of the overall vote.
The campaign of the Left was generally successful. Behind Kyllönen, but with a considerable personal vote (number 9 in the country), was Li Andersson, the chairperson of the Left Youth. Andersson’s campaign was very inspiring, especially for the younger generation of the Left, and she had considerable support in the larger cities (finishing second in Helsinki). Kyllönen, on the other hand, was able to mobilise her base in eastern and northern parts of the country; Other Left candidates, despite an active campaign, finished far behind the two.
The other EL group, the communist party, finished with 0.3 per cent of the vote, showing a steady decline from 2009.
Conservatives: Kokoomus 22,6% 3 seats
Liberals: Centre 19,7% 3 seats, Swedish people's party 6,7% 1 seat
Nationalist, unclear alignment: True Finns 12,9%, 2 seats
Social democrats: 12,3% 2 seats
GUE/NGL: Left Alliance 9,3% 1 seat, Communist party 0,3%, 0 seats
The Greens: 9,3% 1 seat
Teppo Eskelinen, Left Forum, May 26, 2014
IN POWER: Kokoomus (right)
Radical left party in the EP: 0 seats /13
The Left Alliance (VAS), member of the Nordic Green Left Alliance, has reached 8.1% of the vote in the 2011 general elections, which represents the worst electoral result in the history of this party which was founded in 1990.