Finland held municipal elections last weekend.
The Ministry of Justice reports that turnout was 58.3% and gives the following results (with the net change in % vote and seats from 2008 in brackets):
- National Coalition Party, 21.9% (-1.6, -286 seats)
- Social Democratic Party, 19.6% (-1.4, -337 seats)
- Centre Party, 18.7% (-1.7, -440 seats)
- True Finns, 12.3% (+7.0, +752 seats)
- Green League, 8.5% (-0.8, -47 seats)
- Left Alliance, 8.0% (-0.4, -193 seats)
- Swedish People’s Party, 4.7% (0, -30 seats)
- Christian Democrats, 3.7% (-0.4, -51 seats)
So, there was only one winner, the opposition True Finns. The current government is a wide-ranging coalition that replaced the Centre Party-led coalition in 2011. The latter was relieved not to have gone down further in the polls. However, all the ‘establishment’ parties were punished at the expense of the True Finns.
That said, there is some evidence of a centre-rural divide. The True Finns seemed to do better in rural areas. For example, in Helsinki the True Finns ‘only’ increased by 4.1%. Here, the Left Alliance also went up by +1.7%. That said, the decline in the other parties’ votes pretty much matched the decline in the country as a whole.
For the completists, let it be recorded that there was another motion of confidence in the Finnish government last week.
According to the national news agency, this vote was held on the retention of home care allowance for children between the ages of two and three. In the vote 103 deputies (of 200 in total) voted for the government, 63 voted against, and 33 were absent.
In Finland the government faced its second vote of no-confidence in one week.
This time, the issue was the reform of municipal government. The government plans to dramatically reduce the number of elected authorities.
According to the website of the Eduskunta, the government was supported by 102 votes to 70 compared to 106 votes to 69 just last week.
Finland seems to be the country of no-confidence votes, with the possible exception of Romania.
Anyway, this time the government faced a motion that was lodged by the Finns. The motion criticised the government’s plans to reorganise and scale back the armed forces.
The vote was held on 2 March and the government won the vote by 106 votes to 69.
As I understand it, there will be another motion of no-confidence on 9 March. This time, the issue will be the reform of municipal government.
The second round of the presidential election in Finland was held yesterday. The Ministry of the Interior is reporting the following result:
Sauli Niinistö, National Coalition Party (KOK) – 62.6%
Pekka Haavisto, Green League (VIHR) – 37.4%
Matthew Shugart shows that this is only the second time that a Green candidate has won through to the second round of a presidential election. However, in the end there was no surprise. Niinistö had been a long way ahead in the polls for months and he won easily.
The first round of the presidential election in Finland was held on Sunday. The Ministry of the Interior is reporting the following scores:
Sauli Niinistö, National Coalition Party (KOK) – 37.0
Pekka Haavisto, Green League (VIHR) – 18.8
Paavo Väyrynen, Centre Party (KESK) – 17.5
Timo Soini, Finns Party – 9.4
Paavo Lipponen, Social Democratic Party (SDP) – 6.7
Paavo Arhinmäki, Left Alliance – 5.5
Eva Biaudet, Swedish People’s Party (SFP) – 2.7
Sari Essayah, Christian Democrats (KD) – 2.5
So, there is a potentially interesting second round. The long-time poll leader, Sauli Niinistö, of the conservatives was well ahead, but slightly down on some of his previous poll figures. The Green candidate beat the KESK party candidate and qualified for the second round. So, even though the two remaining candidates represent government parties, there is the potential for a left-right split. Moreover, if for strategic rather than ideological reasons the main opposition party, KESK, decides to support the Greens rather than KOK, then the result could actually be quite close. That said, the polls have been showing a win for Niinistö for months now.
I wonder how many Green candidates have ever qualified for the second ballot of a presidential election?
The second round will be held on 5 February.
The Finnish News Agency is reporting that the government successfully survived a no-confidence motion last week.
The vote was taken over the government’s European policy, following the recent EU summit. The motion was tabled by the Finns party, which is a nationalist party.
The government received the support of 116 votes with 73 deputies voting against. The motion was opposed by the Finns, the opposition Centre party and the two deputies who resigned from the Left-Alliance just after it joined the ruling coalition in the summer.
The presidential election in Finland will take place in January. MTV3 there has published a poll giving the current support for the candidates.
Basically, it shows that the National Coalition party candidate is way ahead of the rest of the field. The National Coalition party currently holds the premiership.
In second place is the candidate of the Finns party. He is followed by the candidates for the Centre party, the Greens, and the Social Democratic party.
The poll indicates that 19% do not know who they will vote for.
This is confirmation that Finland has passed a constitutional reform to reduce the powers of the president even further. The official news agency reports that the reform passed by 118 votes to 40 with only the right-wing Finns deputies opposing as well as left deputies. Thus, the vote met the two-thirds requirement. The reform comes into effect when the next president takes office in March next year.
I do not have a copy of the changes in English. However, it can safely be assumed that they are very similar if not the same as the situation that was described in the guest post by Tapio Raunio recently.
Thanks to the @ParlGov Twitter feed for this post.
According to the Finland News Agency, the government has survived its first motion of no-confidence. The motion was lodged by the Centre Party, which had been in government until the legislative election earlier this year, to protest against proposed changes to the structure of municipal government.
The report records that 108 deputies voted in favour of the government and 66 voted against.