Saturday

8th Aug 2020

Centrists win Finnish elections, PM Stubb ousted

  • Stubb became Finland's prime minister less than a year ago, but failed to persuade the electorate to give him a full mandate (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Finnish voters got rid of prime minister Alexander Stubb's government in parliamentary elections Sunday (19 April), leaving the winning Centre Party to find coalition partners on its left or right.

The eurosceptic Finns party lost one seat, but gained in strength, becoming the second largest party in the legislature.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The Centre Party won 49 of 200 seats, gaining 14 since the previous election in 2011. Its leader, businessman and millionaire Juha Sipila, is expected to become Finland's new leader.

Sipila's main concern will be to repair the Nordic country's spluttering economy, although the centrist politician told journalists on Sunday evening that “it will be about 10-year project to get Finland in shape again”.

“A combination of cuts, reforms and growth” is needed, he added.

To form a majority coalition, Sipila will need the support of at least two other parties.

In an analysis of the electorate four months before the vote, Finnish historian Mikko Majander predicted that it would be the Centre Party, rather than the Finns party – formerly known as True Finns – to profit from the government's decline in popularity.

The centrists are “a plausible and secure choice for the bourgeois voters who are disappointed with the conservatives and mistrust the populists”, he wrote.

However, while the populist anti-establishment party, led by Timo Soini, lost one of its seats, other parties lost more. Soini now leads the second-largest party in parliament, with 38 seats.

It did worse than four years ago, but better than in the European Parliament elections of 2014.

“We are here to stay,” Soini said at a press conference on Sunday evening.

Stubb's centre-right National Coalition party lost seven seats and ended up at 37, while his coalition partner, the centre-left Social Democratic Party, lost eight and now stands at 34.

Stubb had been prime minister since his predecessor Jyrki Katainen stepped down in June 2014, but he was not able to stop the coalition's steadily declining popularity.

Katainen has since became the EU jobs commissioner.

The elections will bring Olli Rehn back to Finnish politics. The former EU commissioner and current member of the European Parliament was on the ballot for the Centre Party.

“Parties have to now concentrate on fixing Finland’s economy and not arguing over Greece”, Rehn said according to Bloomberg.

When Rehn was commissioner, he took a hard line on Greece's debt and spending, but recently noted that Finland must now introduce austerity measures to “fix the economy”.

While the elections produced a clear winner, there are several coalition options possible.

“It’s clear that the Finns or any other party can’t dictate,” Rehn said.

“All parties must be able to compromise on their non-negotiable questions and with a strong will build cooperation and get Finland out of this mire.”

In Finland, the euro is not the real problem

Finns are living through tough economic times. Rather than blaming the euro, they should concentrate on repairing the dangerous divides that are developing in their society.

Opinion

Worrying rows over future EU chemicals policy

It is of utmost concern to the environmental health community that forces within the EU Commission are actively trying to push back against a European Green Deal that is supposed to put people's health at its core.

News in Brief

  1. Germany breached rights of Madeleine McCann suspect
  2. EU offers trade perks to Lebanon
  3. Germany charges four ex-Audi chiefs on emissions cheating
  4. UK quarantines Belgium, as European infections climb
  5. Bulgaria's Borissov mulls resignation
  6. EU prolongs anti-dumping duties on Chinese steel
  7. Swedish economy contracted less during April to June
  8. EU offers help to Lebanon after port explosion

Stakeholder

Renew Europe has a plan to combat gender-violence

This is not about supposedly traditional values – when was violence against women ever a value? – it is about living up to the European values we all signed up to. We have to put pressure on Poland.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. Iraqis paid €2,000 each agree to leave Greece
  2. EU's most sustainable islands are Danish 'Sunshine Islands'
  3. Worrying rows over future EU chemicals policy
  4. Rainbow flag protesters charged by Polish police
  5. An open letter to the EPP on end of Hungary's press freedom
  6. Renew Europe has a plan to combat gender-violence
  7. Why EU beats US on green pandemic recovery
  8. Azerbaijan ambassador to EU shared anti-George Floyd post

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us