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Life & society

Some small surprises
in Finnish municipal elections

By Peter Marten, October 2012

Photo: Markku Ulander/LehtikuvaFinnish municipal elections 2012Fatbardhe Hetemaj (middle, orange necklace) celebrates her win in the 2012 Finnish municipal elections with supporters from the National Coalition Party.

The Finnish municipal elections held on October 28, 2012 contained a few unpredictable moments, but none of the drama of the 2011 parliamentary elections.

Most parties lost a couple percentage points of support but managed to tread water in their overall positions. When the national totals are tallied, the situation looks like this: moderate conservative National Coalition Party 21.9 percent, Social Democrats 19.6, Centre Party 18.7, “Finns” Party 12.3, Greens 8.5, Left Alliance 8.0, Swedish People’s Party 4.7, Christian Democrats 3.7.

However, concentrating on national stats can be misleading when talking about municipal elections, as the country includes some 300 different municipalities, each with its own election issues that play out at the local level.

Several candidates with immigrant backgrounds were elected, first and foremost in the capital region. They included Zahra Abdullah (Greens), Fatbardhe Hetemaj (National Coalition Party) and Nasima Razmyar (Social Democrats). The Greens and the Left Alliance proved that they are at their strongest in the capital, with the Greens rising to second place in Helsinki and neighbouring Espoo. The National Coalition Party and Social Democrats are the other major parties in the capital area, with the “Finns” Party taking third in Vantaa, north of Helsinki. Meanwhile the Centre Party continues to maintain popularity in rural Finland.

A lack of drama formed part of this election story. Voter turnout was a disappointing 58.2 percent, compared to 61.8 percent in the previous municipal elections in 2008.

The populist “Finns” Party made gains at the local level in many places but came nowhere close to matching the avalanche of votes they received in the 2011 parliamentary elections. Election pundits pondered whether this indicated disappointment on the part of some people who voted for the “Finns” in 2011 – despite the party’s 39 seats in Parliament it did not join the government coalition and still occupies a gadfly opposition role.

See also on thisisFINLAND:

Municipal elections in Finland: Another Finnish big bang was not to be


Slice and dice the results with Statistics Finland’s election map service

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