It seems to be the case that what happens in Sweden usually ends up happening in Finland as well. Six months ago, Swedish voters opted for a switch to the right, and in Finland the same happened yesterday, with Keskusta (Centre Party) clinging to its lead, but with big gains by Kokoomus (National Coalition), and big losses for the Social Democrats. The Greens had marginal gains as well. Frankly, not much will change, which in Finland’s case I guess is OK.
What hasn’t so far been commented very much in the media is the proportionally huge gains made by the populist Perussuomalaiset (True Finns), who went from 3 to 5 seats, and their candidate Timo Soini was the third most voted nationwide for his district in Uusimaa (southern Finland). Why do I care about this development? Because these guys are the kind of people that wouldn’t want me in Finland, as they tout a pretty strong anti-immigrant line (á la Jörg Haider, Jean-Marie Le Pen or the Vlaams Belang party here in Belgium). With phrases such as “we want Finland to select who, how and where from do people come to the country”, they show both their complete ignorance of the fact that to get a residence permit you have to go through stringent procedures and their belief that foreigners in Finland are mostly refugees, which is so untrue to almost be comical.
So, to sum up, Matti Vanhanen will probably stay as prime minister, the government will shift a little bit to the right but not much, and we got three more Tony Halme clones in Parliament. Let’s see how the situation develops.