Finns Party

The Finns Party,[13][14][15] formerly known in English as the True Finns (Finnish: Perussuomalaiset, PS, Swedish: Sannfinländarna, Sannf.),[note 1] is a Finnish conservative political party, founded in 1995 following the dissolution of the Finnish Rural Party.

In the 2011 parliamentary election, the party won 19.1% of votes,[19] becoming the third largest party in the Finnish Parliament.[20] In the 2015 election the party got 17.7% of the votes, making them the parliament's second largest party.[21] The party was in opposition for the first 20 years of its existence. In 2015 they joined the government coalition formed by Prime Minister Sipilä. Following a 2017 split, over half of the party's MPs left the parliamentary group and were subsequently expelled from their party membership. This defector group, New Alternative (later renamed as Blue Reform), continued to support the government coalition, while the Finns Party went into opposition.

The party combines left-wing economic policies[22] with conservative social values, socio-cultural authoritarianism, and ethnic nationalism.[23] Several researchers have described the party as fiscally centre-left, socially conservative,[24] a "centre-based populist party" or the "most left-wing of the non-socialist parties", whereas other scholars have described them as radically right-wing populist.[23][note 2] In the parliament seating order, the party's MPs have always been seated in the centre[27] and the party's supporters have described themselves as centrists as well.[28] The party has drawn people from left-wing parties but central aspects of their manifesto[29] have gained support from right-wing voters as well.[30][31][note 3] The Finns Party has been compared by international media to the other Nordic populist parties and other similar nationalist and right-wing populist movements in Europe that share euroscepticism and are critical of globalism, whilst noting its strong support for the Finnish welfare state.[34][35]

In June 2014, the Finns Party joined the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Parliament, where it co-operates with parties like the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom and Law and Justice of Poland.

Finns Party

Perussuomalaiset (Finnish)
Sannfinländarna (Swedish)
LeaderJussi Halla-aho
Deputy leaderLaura Huhtasaari
Third deputy leaderJuho Eerola[1]
Founded11 May 1995
Preceded byFinnish Rural Party (de facto)
HeadquartersYrjönkatu 8-10
FI-00120 Helsinki[2]
Youth wingFinns Party Youth
Women's wingFinns Party Women[3]
IdeologyFinnish nationalism[4]
National conservatism[5][6]
Economic nationalism[7]
Social conservatism[8][6]
Right-wing populism[6][9][10]
Euroscepticism[4]
Political positionRight-wing[11][12]
European Parliament groupEuropean Conservatives and Reformists
ColoursBlue, White, and Gold
Parliament
17 / 200
European Parliament
2 / 13
Municipalities
770 / 8,999
Website
www.perussuomalaiset.fi

History

Finnish Rural Party

The predecessor of the Finns Party was the Finnish Rural Party (Suomen maaseudun puolue, SMP), founded by Agrarian League dissident Veikko Vennamo in 1959. Vennamo ran into serious disagreement with Arvo Korsimo, the Agrarian League's party secretary, and was excluded from the parliamentary group. As a result, Vennamo immediately started building his own organization and founded the Finnish Rural Party. Vennamo was a populist and became a critic of President Urho Kekkonen and of political corruption within the "old parties", particularly the Centre Party (the renamed Agrarian League). The Rural Party achieved two major victories in the elections of 1970 and 1983, winning 18 and 17 seats respectively. In the 1970s, Vennamo's personalized leadership style alienated some in the party, which led to a split in the parliamentary group in 1972. After the Rural Party's new rise in 1983 under Vennamo's son Pekka, the party became a partner in two coalition governments. However, the party's support declined steadily in the late-1980s and early-1990s. In 1995, the party won only one seat in the Finnish parliament and soon filed for bankruptcy.

Founding of the Finns Party and its rise in popularity

Perussuomalaiset Hakaniemen torilla
True Finns stall at Hakaniemi square, Helsinki in 2010.

In the summer of 1995, following the collapse of the Finnish Rural Party, the decision to found the Finns Party was made by Timo Soini, Raimo Vistbacka, Urpo Leppänen and Kari Bärlund. Soini had been the Rural Party's last party secretary and Vistbacka its last chairman and MP. The party collected the five thousand signatures needed for registration and was added to the official party register on 13 October 1995.[36] The first party congress was held in November. Vistbacka was elected party chairman and Soini the party secretary.[37]

It took some time before the Finns Party gained ground in Finnish elections. At the time of its founding in 1995, the party's sole MP was Vistbacka, who was reelected in the 1999 election. In 2003, the party won three seats: besides Vistbacka, Soini and Tony Halme were elected. In the 2007, the party gained two further seats for a total of five. In the 2008 municipal election, the Finns Party were most successful in those districts where the Social Democrats and the Left Alliance lost most.[38] In the 2011 election, the Centre Party suffered the largest blow from the Finns Party's success.

According to a 2008–2009 study, Finns Party supporters viewed themselves as centrist: on a scale where 1 was extreme left and 10 was extreme right, the average supporter placed themselves at 5.4. According to the same study, supporters were united by patriotism and social conservatism.[39] A 2011 study indicated that the Finns Party was the most popular party among voters with an annual income of 35,000–50,000 euros, while over a quarter of the party's voters earn over 50,000 per year.[40][41] The same study also indicated that the party's voters included a higher percentage of blue collar workers than those of the Social Democrats.[41]

Timo Soini

Timo Soini A4.jpeg
Timo Soini, chairman for 20 years.

Timo Soini led the Finns Party for twenty years, from 1997 until 2017. He was first elected to the parliament in 2003. He was the party's candidate in the 2006 presidential election, and was elected to the European Parliament in 2009 with the highest personal vote share in the country.[42] He served as an MEP for two years, returning to the Finnish parliament in the 2011 election. Soini was the party's presidential candidate for a second time in the election of 2012.[43] Jussi Halla-aho succeeded Soini as party chairman in 2017.

2011-2017

Eduskuntavaalit 2011 - Perussuomalaiset
Support for the Finns Party by municipality in the 2011 parliamentary election—the Finns Party's support was spread out quite evenly across the country.[44] In 2011, the Finns Party's strongest electoral district was Satakunta (23.6%), while the strongest municipality was Kihniö (53.2%). The weakest electoral district for the party was the capital Helsinki (13%). Compared to the rest of the country, the party's support was also low in municipalities with a high percentage of Swedish speakers.
Eduskuntavaalit 2015 - Perussuomalaiset
Support by municipality in the 2015 parliamentary election.

The Finns Party obtained 39 seats in the 2011 election, making them the third largest party, narrowly behind the National Coalition Party (44) and the Social Democrats (42). Soini received 43,212 personal votes, the highest number of all candidates,[45] leaving behind the Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb and the Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen in their Uusimaa electoral district.[46] The popularity of the party rose from 4.1% to 19.1% in just four years. Helsingin Sanomat wrote in an editorial that the party and Soini had "rewritten the electoral history books".[47] According to political analyst Jan Sundberg, Soini had the ability to appeal to common people and make complicated things look easy.[48] The election result was also referred to as "shocking" and "exceptional".[19]

After the election, the National Coalition Party (NCP) began negotiations aiming to form a cabinet between the NCP, the Social Democrats, and the Finns Party. However, when it became clear that the NCP and the Social Democrats would continue to support EU bailouts, which the Finns Party vehemently opposed during the electoral campaign, the party voluntarily broke from the negotiations in order to become the leading opposition party. Soini said that the party would not compromise its core principles just to enter the government.[49] According to an opinion poll, most of the party's supporters accepted this decision.[50]

The Finns Party's popularity initially continued to rise after the 2011 election: in one opinion poll from June 2011 gave the party a record popularity of 23 percent.[51] The party's membership rose to over 8,000 members by 2013[52] (up from circa 5,500 in 2011[53] and circa 1,000 in 2005[54]). Membership in the party's youth organisation rose as well, going from 800 before the 2011 election[55] to over 2,200 in 2013.[56]

The party nominated Soini as its candidate for the 2012 presidential election;[43] Soini finished fourth with 9.4 percent.[57] Soini interpreted the result by saying that half of the party's voters wanted him for president, while the other half wanted to him to remain as party chairman.[58] In municipal elections later in 2012, the party got 12.3 percent of votes and 1,195 seats in the municipal councils, up more than 750 from the previous municipal election.[59] However, this result saw the votes for the party shrink significantly from the 2011 parliamentary election result. The party got 12.9 percent of votes in the 2014 European Parliament election and increased its number of MEPs to two.

In the 2015 election, the Finns Party got 17.7% of the votes and 38 seats. This meant that they were the third largest party by votes but the second largest party by seats. The Finns Party subsequently entered into a coalition government with the Centre Party and the NCP, led by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä. The party's participation in the Sipilä Cabinet marked a softening of its Eurosceptic positions. On 22 June 2016, Finns Party MP Maria Tolppanen joined the Social Democrats, after which the Finns Party had 37 seats in the parliament.[60] In March 2017, Soini announced that he would step down as party chairman in the next party congress in June.[61]

2017 leadership election and split

Jussi Halla-aho 2014
Dr. Jussi Halla-aho, chairman elected in 2017.

In June 2017, Jussi Halla-aho and Sampo Terho faced off in the leadership election, in which Halla-aho received 949 votes against Terho's 646 votes and thus succeeded Soini as party chairman.[62] Sipilä and Finance Minister Petteri Orpo soon announced that they would not continue their coalition with the Finns Party if it was led by Halla-aho.[63] Subsequently, twenty Finns Party MPs, including Soini and Terho, defected to form a new parliamentary group under the name New Alternative, later renamed into Blue Reform. As all cabinet ministers were among the defectors, the Blue Reform made an agreement with Sipilä to stay in the government.[64][65]

Following the split, MPs Veera Ruoho and Arja Juvonen left the Finns Party parliamentary group to continue as independents, after which the party's seats were reduced to fifteen.[66][67] All of the defecting MPs were subsequently expelled from the Finns Party.[68] In the following weeks, MPs Ritva Elomaa and Arja Juvonen regretted their decision and re-joined the party, raising the amount of MPs to seventeen.[69]

The party nominated MP Laura Huhtasaari as its candidate for the 2018 presidential election. In the election, Huhtasaari placed third with 6.9 percent of the votes, while the incumbent president Sauli Niinistö went on to secure his second term with a majority of votes.[70]

In the European Parliament

When the Finns Party first gained representation in the European Parliament in 2009, it became a founding member of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group (EFD) in the Parliament. After the 2014 election, however, the party chose to leave the EFD in order to join the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR). Commenting on the party's choice of group, party secretary Riikka Slunga-Poutsalo said in 2014 that joining a right-wing parliamentary group would not change the party's characteristic of being a "centre-left workers' party".[71]

Policies

In evaluating the Finns Party's 70 page program for the 2011 election Mikko Lahtinen, political scientist in the University of Tampere, and Markku Hyrkkänen, historian of ideas in the University of Turku, note that nationalism is a theme consistently repeated throughout the program. According to them the party presents populism as a noble ideology, which seeks to empower the people. Lahtinen describes the rhetoric used in the program as a refreshing change to the politically correct "jargon" of mainstream media, and believes that the Finns Party may have succeeded in gaining supporters from the traditional left-wing parties by presenting a more attractive form of criticism of neoliberalism than those parties.[72]

Ville Pernaa, political scientist, described the party's 2015 electoral program by saying that the Finns Party combines elements of both right-wing and left-wing politics along with populist rhetoric.[73]

Policies of the Finns Party include the following:[74][75]

Fiscal

The Finns Party has proposed more progressivity to taxes in order to avoid the establishment of flat taxation. The party has called for the raising of the capital gains tax and the re-institution of the wealth tax. According to the party, the willingness to pay taxes is best guaranteed by a society unified by correct social policies — the electoral program warns against individualist policies, which weaken the solidarity among citizens. "The willingness to pay taxes is guaranteed by having a unified people", the program reads (p. 46).[75]

Some observers have compared the Finns Party's fiscal policies to the old national Social Democratic taxation policy, which has given the left-wing brand to the Finns Party. During the electoral campaign in 2011 Soini stated that he preferred the Social Democrats over the center-right National Coalition Party as a possible coalition partner in a future cabinet. Soini has stated that the Finns Party is a "workers' party without socialism".[78] A researcher for the opinion polling company Taloustutkimus agreed, describing the Finns Party as a "non-socialist workers' party".[79]

  • State support for rural regions, including support for agriculture

The Finns Party's rural policy program suggests state subsidies to relieve the effect of structural changes on the rural areas.[75] This policy is shared by the Centre Party in Finland and originates from the agrarian and rural policies of both parties.

  • Increased state investment in infrastructure and industry[75]

The Finns Party favours state investments in infrastructure and industry as well. A tendency towards favouring old industrial policies have led some political analysts to label the Finns Party as a center-left party.

Energy

  • Aspiration to energy self-reliance and support for nuclear energy[75][80]
  • Pro-industry environmental policy — opposition to green tax reform and to taxpayers' involvement in emission trading funds[75]

Cultural

  • Teaching "healthy national pride" in schools, because the unity of citizens is the basis of society.[81][82]
  • Removal of the obligatory character of the second official language (Swedish in Finnish-language schools and vice versa) in curriculums on all levels of education, freeing up time for the learning of other foreign languages such as English, German, French, Spanish and Russian (especially in the eastern part of the country).[75][83] Obviously allowance regarding the use of the Swedish language and its teaching will have to be made for those communes where Swedish-speaking populations are in the majority or a large percentage of the population - Swedish is a legally recognized 'second language' of Finland.
  • Support for cultural activities that "promote Finnish identity"[75][82]

The cultural program of the Finns Party, which proposed subsidizing traditional art over postmodernist art, prompted criticism from outside the party and generated debate within the party as well.[84] Some critics of the policy called it overtly populist[85] or said that the state should not interfere with the content of art.[86] A poll commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat at the time of the controversy found that a majority, 51 percent, of Finns agreed with the party's stance on ending subsidies for postmodern art.[86]

Social

Immigration

Regarding immigration policy the 2011 manifesto emphasises:[75][76]

  • Limiting humanitarian immigration strictly to refugee quotas (which should be adapted to correspond with the economic situation),
  • Limiting family unification to proven direct relatives only, and requiring means of subsistence from the immigrant,
  • Deporting those immigrants guilty of serious or recurrent crimes,
  • Welcoming work-based immigration, provided the immigrants pay taxes and abide by Finnish labour laws,
  • Granting Finnish nationality after five years' residence in Finland, provided the immigrant masters Finnish, has no criminal record, and has means of subsistence

The party also requires that immigrants accept Finnish cultural norms.[76] The only written declaration to the European Parliament made by a True Finn MEP also concerns immigration matters.[88] The party underlines the role of national sovereignty in immigration issues:

[True] Finnish immigration policy should be based on the fact that the Finns should always be able to decide for themselves the conditions under which a foreigner can come to our country and reside in our country.

— True Finns' Program for the 2011 election (p. 40)[75][89]

In 2015 the party's immigration programme included demands like:[90][91]

  • Lowering the refugee quota
  • Opposition to the planned burden-sharing mechanisms of the Common European Asylum Policy
  • Opposition to using public funds to advance multiculturalism
  • Tightening the conditions of family unification by migrants
  • Allowing the immigration of workers from outside the EU and EEA countries only if they are found to be necessary in a given field in a means test by the Finnish Labour Office
  • Making sure that migrants living on welfare benefits are not concentrated in the same areas
  • Outlawing begging on a public place
  • Ending positive discrimination

Timo Soini signed a pan-European charter against racism in 1998.[92] However, in 2009, before the European Parliament election, Soini refused to sign an anti-racism appeal, saying that the appeal was an attempt to influence the party's choice of candidates (the appeal was drawn up by another political party). All other Finnish parties signed this appeal against racism.[93] In May 2011, following controversies surrounding the remarks of the Finns Party's MP Teuvo Hakkarainen, the Finns Party's parliamentary group issued a statement condemning all racism and discrimination, including affirmative action.[94] The party invited other parties to sign the statement as well, but no other party did so. In December 2011, an opinion poll revealed 51% of Finns Party voters agreed with the statement, "People of certain races are unsuited for life in a modern society."[95]

Foreign and defence

Timo Soini has been an outspoken critic of both the EU and NATO, but has stated that if a choice had to be made, NATO is a lesser evil than the EU. The Finns Party favors non-alliance or neutrality, as international activities abroad for the Defence Forces would undermine the defence budget's funds for sustaining a large conscript army of war-time personnel (which is 350,000) to guarantee the defence of all of Finland.[75][76] When the Finnish Parliament voted to ratify the Ottawa Treaty, banning anti-personnel mines, in November 2011, the Finns Party was the only party unified in opposing the treaty.[96]

The party believes in national sovereignty:

[T]he eternal and unlimited right to always decide freely and independently of all of one's affairs lies only and solely with the people, which forms a nation separate of others.

— True Finns' Program for the 2011 election (p. 7)[75][82]

Judicial

During the 2011 election the party's judicial programme included:[75]

  • Tougher punishments for violent crime[97]
  • More resources for police and prosecutors
  • Opposition to any incorporation of Sharia law into judicial practices

Election results

Finns Party results by constituency,
2015 parliamentary election[98]
Constituency Votes
(%)
Avg. result
+/− (pp)
Satakunta 25.0 +7.3
South-Eastern Finland 21.1 +3.4
Savonia-Karelia 19.7 +2
Tavastia 19.5 +1.8
Finland Proper 19.3 +1.6
Central Finland 19.3 +1.6
Uusimaa 18.0 +0.3
Pirkanmaa 17.8 +0.1
Lapland 16.5 -1.2
Oulu 16.2 -1.5
Vaasa 15.9 -1.8
Helsinki 11.3 -6.4
Finland (total) 17.7 0

Parliamentary elections

Election Votes % Seats +/– Position
1999 26,440 0.99
1 / 200
9th
2003 43,816 1.57
3 / 200
Increase 2 Increase 8th
2007 112,256 4.05
5 / 200
Increase 2 Steady 8th
2011 560,075 19.05
39 / 200
Increase 34 Increase 3rd
2015 524,054 17.65
38 / 200
Decrease 1 Increase 2nd
2019 TBD TBD
0 / 200
Increase Increase

Presidential elections

Election year Candidate 1st round Position
# of overall votes % of overall vote
2000 Ilkka Hakalehto 31,405 1.03 6th
2006 Timo Soini 103,368 3.43 5th
2012 Timo Soini 287,571 9.40 4th
2018 Laura Huhtasaari 207,337 6.93 3rd

European Parliament elections

European Parliament
Election year # of total votes % of overall vote # of seats won
1996 15,004 0.67% 0
1999 9,854 0.79% 0
2004 8,900 0.54% 0
2009 162,930 9.79% 1
2014 222,457 12.87% 2

Municipal elections

Municipal councils
Election year # of total votes % of overall vote # of seats won
1996 21,999 0.93% 138
2000 14,712 0.66% 109
2004 21,417 0.90% 106
2008 137,497 5.39% 443
2012 307,797 12.34% 1,195
2017 227,297 8.8% 770

Leadership

Chairmanship and party secretaries

Raimo Vistbacka
An ex-police commissioner and MP Raimo Vistbacka was elected the first chairman of the Finns Party in the Kokkola Party Congress in November, 1995. Photograph from 2011.

The party chairmanship is divided between four persons, elected at party congress biannually. Jussi Halla-aho is the party's chairman. The first deputy chairwoman is Laura Huhtasaari, the second deputy chairman is Teuvo Hakkarainen and the third deputy chairman is Juho Eerola.[99]

Raimo Vistbacka chaired the Finns Party from 1995 to 1997. The party secretary Timo Soini succeeded Vistbacka as chairman in 1997.

Rolf Sormo followed Timo Soini as party secretary and served from 1997 to 1999. The third party secretary, Hannu Purho, served for eight years, from 1999 to 2007. After him, Timo Soini's parliamentary assistant, Ossi Sandvik, was elected party secretary in 2007. He was succeeded by Riikka Slunga-Poutsalo, who was elected as party secretary in 2013.[100]

Board

The board of the Finns Party has 13 members: the party chairman, the three deputy chairs, the party secretary, chair of the parliamentary group and seven other members.[1]

Foundations

The foundation Perussuomalaisten tukisäätiö ("The Finns Party support fund") was founded in 1990. It used the name SMP:n tukisäätiö until 2006. The fund borrowed 1.7 million euros from the party in 2012 to buy a 450 m2 commercial property in downtown Helsinki on Yrjönkatu for use as the Party's new headquarters. The Party rented these premises from the fund.[101]

Another fund, Suomen Perusta ("The Foundation of Finland"), was set up in 2012. Its role is to function as a think tank affiliated with the party.[102]

Elected representatives

Members of the Finnish Parliament

Leena Meri is the current chairman of the parliamentary group.

Former Members of Parliament

European Parliament

Party chairmen

Party secretaries

  • Riikka Slunga-Poutsalo (2013–)
  • Ossi Sandvik (2007–2013)
  • Hannu Purho (1999–2007)
  • Rolf Sormo (1997–1999)
  • Timo Soini (1995–1997)

Controversies

Several True Finns MPs and other party leaders have made public statements which others have interpreted as being racist or otherwise inflammatory. In 2011 True Finn MP James Hirvisaari was fined 1,425 euro by the Kouvola Court of Appeals for comments he made on his blog about Muslims.[103] In 2011 President Tarja Halonen was quoted characterizing some True Finn voters as racist.[104][105] Her comments were broadly condemned by the True Finn party.[105] A 2011 book by Swedish journalist Lisa Bjurwald made a similar characterization, that the party's leaders support racist positions, while publicly denying that they do so.[106]

In 2011 MP Pentti Oinonen declined an invitation to the presidential Independence Day ball, citing his aversion to seeing same-sex couples dance.[107] In a judgement given on 8 June 2012, MP Jussi Halla-aho, then Chairman of the Administration Committee was found guilty by the Supreme Court of both disturbing religious worship and ethnic agitation for statements he made about Muhammad in his blog.[108]

In October 2013 it was reported that a Finns Party member of parliament, James Hirvisaari, had invited far-right activist Seppo Lehto as his guest to the parliament. During his visit, Lehto made several Nazi salutes, including at least one instance where Hirvisaari took a photo of Lehto performing the Nazi salute from the spectator gallery overlooking the Parliament House's Session Hall. Photos and videos of Lehto performing the Nazi salute in the Parliament House were then distributed on Lehto's public Facebook page and on YouTube.[109] After newspapers broke news of the incident, Speaker of the Parliament Eero Heinäluoma issued a notice of censure to Hirvisaari for the incident and the Finns Party leadership unanimously decided to expel Hirvisaari from the party, citing multiple cases of acting against the party's interest.[110][111][112] Hirvisaari then became affiliated with the Change 2011 party as the party's MP, until he was unseated in the parliamentary election of 2015.[113]

Notes

  1. ^ The English name 'True Finns' was originally used by the party itself[16] and is still sometimes used by the international media, along with the literal translation 'Basic Finns'. The party's Finnish name has always remained the same and a practical translation of Perussuomalaiset would be 'Ordinary Finns', 'Regular Finns' or 'Typical Finns'. In August 2011, the party began using 'The Finns' as an official English name — chairman Soini said that the new name captured the image of the movement as a party of ordinary Finns.[17][18] The party's website and the Finnish parliament's English website, however, use the less confusing name, the 'Finns Party'.[15]
  2. ^ Esa Vares and Erkka Railo describe the party primarily as a populist movement, a term embraced by the party itself. Although the title of their research is "Many Faces of Right-Wing Populism", Vares and Railo also describe the party’s economic policies as centre-left and pro-welfare state, while the party’s stance on many social or "value" issues is described as conservative. Vares and Railo explicitly reject the far-right label, saying that the term has lost its analytical meaning (although they use it to refer to some smaller groups in Finland, they don’t use it to describe the Finns Party).[25] The German political scientist Florian Hartleb has likewise rejected the views that present the Finns Party as an extremist movement: he says that the party’s chairman Timo Soini "shows no racist or radical features". Hartleb continues to say that it would be a mistake to classify the party in the racist or extremist corner. Instead Hartleb places them in a new generation of more moderate right-wing parties.[26]
  3. ^ For instance, part nine of the True Finns' manifesto reads: "[True] Finnish immigration policy should be based on the fact that the Finns should always be able to decide for themselves the conditions under which a foreigner can come to our country and reside in our country."[32][33]

References

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  2. ^ "Puoluetoimisto - Perussuomalaiset". Perussuomalaiset.fi. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  3. ^ "NYTKIS - The Coalition of Finnish Women´s Associations". The Coalition of Finnish Women´s Associations. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Political parties". CivicActive. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  5. ^ Siitonen, Aaretti (2009), "Flags and hymns are not for Finns: An analysis of the European elections in Finland before the fact" (PDF), The Finnish Institute of International Affairs, p. 4, archived from the original (PDF) on 2 August 2017, retrieved 3 December 2018
  6. ^ a b c Nordsieck, Wolfram (2015). "Finland". Parties and Elections in Europe.
  7. ^ Kuisma, Mikko (2013). "Good" and "Bad" Immigrants: The Economic Nationalism of the True Finns' Immigration Discourse. The Discourses and Politics of Migration in Europe. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 94.
  8. ^ Mäkinen, Esa (20 April 2011). "HS-arvokartta: Soini johtaa vasemmistopuoluetta". Helsingin Sanomat. Archived from the original on 25 April 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2011.
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    • Kuisma, Mikko (2013). "Good" and "Bad" Immigrants: The Economic Nationalism of the True Finns' Immigration Discourse. The Discourses and Politics of Migration in Europe. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 93.
    • Fryklund, Björn (2013). Populism – Changes Over Time and Space: A Comparative and Retrospective Analysis of Populist Parties in the Nordic Countries from 1965 to 2012. Right-Wing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse. Bloombsbury. pp. 267–269.
    • Wahlbeck, Östen (2013). Multicultural Finnish Society and Minority Rights. Debating Multiculturalism in the Nordic Welfare States. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 313–315, 320.
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  11. ^ "Onko perussuomalaiset muuttunut äärioikeistolaiseksi – neljä asiantuntijaa vastaa" [Has the Finns Party turned into a far-right party? – four experts answer]. Finnish Broadcasting Company. 12 June 2017. Retrieved 25 September 2017. Olisi väärin määritellä perussuomalaiset nyt äärioikeistolaiseksi puolueeksi [It would be wrong to now define the Finns Party as a far-right party]
  12. ^ Tutkija: Äärioikeisto-käsitettä käytetään lepsusti – Saksan AfD ja Suomen perussuomalaiset ovat jotakin muuta (The concept far-right is used too loosely – Germany's AfD and Finland's Finns Party are something else), "Kotonen ei pidä perussuomalaisia ainakaan äärioikeistolaisena puolueena"("Kotonen does not consider the Finns Party to be a far-right party"). Yle.fi, published 30 September, accessed 5 November 2017
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  14. ^ "Finns Party ponders power | Yle Uutiset". yle.fi. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  15. ^ a b "Members | Parliament of Finland". Web.eduskunta.fi. Archived from the original on 2007-07-02. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  16. ^ "Perussuomalaiset - True Finns". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 9 December 2007. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  17. ^ YLE:"True Finns" name their party "The Finns", retrieved 22 August 2011
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ a b "Helsingin Sanomat, April 18, 2011, 'SUNDAY EVENING : ELECTION SPECIAL'". Hs.fi. Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
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Arja Juvonen

Arja Sinikka Juvonen (born 8 December 1967) is a Finnish politician, representing the Finns Party in the Parliament of Finland. She has served in the Parliament since 2011 and in the City Council of Espoo since 2009.In 2017, Juvonen left the Finns Party due to the election of the Jussi Halla-aho as the leader of the party. However, she did not join the Blue Reform party, which was formed by the MPs that had left the Finns Party. Instead, after a few weeks, Juvonen re-joined the Finns Party.

Blue Reform

Blue Reform (Finnish: Sininen tulevaisuus, shortened to SIN, Swedish: Blå framtid, lit. blue future) is a Finnish conservative political party.

Blue Reform was founded by the 19 MPs who left the Finns Party on 13 June 2017 in protest against Jussi Halla-aho having been elected party leader. The new parliamentary group of these defectors was initially called New Alternative (Finnish: Uusi vaihtoehto, uv; Swedish: Nytt alternativ, na). The party's current name was announced on 19 June. The association of this name was officially registered on 3 July 2017.The Blue Reform is chaired by Sampo Terho, the Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sport. It also includes all the other cabinet ministers who were previously members of the Finns Party: Timo Soini, Jussi Niinistö, Jari Lindström and Pirkko Mattila. It is one of the three parties that make up the Sipilä Cabinet.

According to a Helsingin Sanomat opinion poll conducted in May 2018, Blue Reform has a popular support of 1.7 percent, making it the least popular group represented in the Parliament of Finland.

Jari Lindström

Jari Tapani Lindström (born 28 June 1965) is a Finnish politician and current Minister of Labor. He represented the Finns Party till 2017 and was first elected to the Parliament in 2011 in the former constituency of Kymi. In 2014, Lindström was appointed the chairman of the Finns Party parliamentary group. In the 2015 elections he maintained his seat, standing in the newly formed South-Eastern constituency. He was appointed as both Minister of Justice and Minister of Labor in May 2015.On 13 June 2017, Lindström and 19 others left the Finns Party parliamentary group to found the New Alternative parliamentary group.Lindström worked at a paper mill and is also a qualified laboratory technician. He has voiced his support for capital punishment under certain circumstances.

Juha Väätäinen

Juha Väätäinen (born 12 July 1941) is a Finnish former athlete. He is the winner of the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter gold medals at the 1971 European Championships, held in Helsinki. He was the eldest of the successful Finnish runners, the others being Lasse Virén, Pekka Vasala, Tapio Kantanen, Martti Vainio, and Kaarlo Maaninka, who came into the limelight in the 1970s. He served as a Member of the Finnish Parliament for Helsinki, representing the Finns Party between 2011 and 2015.

Juho Eerola

Juho Seppo Antero Eerola (born 24 February 1975 in Kymi, Finland) is a Finnish politician of the Finns Party. He was elected to the Finnish Parliament in the 2011 election. He is also a member of the city council of Kotka. In the True Finns' party conference of 2011 Eerola was elected as the party's second vice-chairman, and in the conference of 2013 he was elected as the third vice-chairman. Eerola is a former member of the nationalist organisation Suomen Sisu: he resigned his membership in 2012 when he felt that people outside the party were using the issue as a wedge against him and the party.In 2011 the hacktivist group Anonymous leaked the membership applications of the Finnish Resistance Movement on Pastebin. It was revealed that Ulla Pyysalo, the aide of Juho Eerola, had applied for membership in the purportedly Neo-nazi organization.

Jussi Halla-aho

Jussi Kristian Halla-aho (born 27 April 1971) is a Finnish politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Finland. He is the leader of the Finns Party, part of the European Conservatives and Reformists.Halla-aho was first elected to the Helsinki City Council in 2008 and to the Finnish parliament in 2011. In 2014 he was elected to the European Parliament. On 13 March 2017, Halla-aho announced that he would stand in the Finns Party leadership election. On 10 June 2017, he was elected Leader of the Finns Party.

Jussi Niinistö

Jussi Niinistö (born October 27, 1970 in Helsinki) is a Finnish politician and the current Minister of Defence. Since 2011, he has been a member of Finnish Parliament, representing the Finns Party 2011–2017 and Blue Reform since 2017. By occupation he is a military historian, a docent of Finnish history in the University of Helsinki and a docent of military history in the Finnish National Defence University. In 2013 he was elected as the first vice-chairman of the True Finns, but lost his seat in 2017.Niinistö was a member of the municipal council of Nurmijärvi 2009–2015 and the chairman of the Finns Party deputy group of the council 2009–2014. In August 2015, Niinistö moved to Helsinki and left the municipal council. In the 2017 municipal elections Niinistö was elected to the City Council of Helsinki.On 13 June 2017, Niinistö and 19 others left the Finns Party parliamentary group to found the New Alternative parliamentary group, which would later became the Blue Reform party.

Kaj Turunen

Kaj Valentin Turunen (born 27 December 1960 in Lohja) is a Finnish politician. Turunen was elected to the Finnish Parliament in the 2011 election as a The Finns Party candidate from the electoral district of Southern Savonia with 2,631 votes. In 2015, he won a seat in South-Eastern Finland.

On 13 June 2017, Turunen and 19 others left the Finns Party parliamentary group to found the New Alternative parliamentary group. In April 2018, he left the party to join the National Coalition Party.Turunen has a professional education as a construction worker (1978, Jyväskylän ammattikoulu), and has further professional qualifications in entrepreneurship (2008) and leadership (2011), both from JAMK University of Applied Sciences.

Laura Huhtasaari

Laura Huhtasaari (born 30 March 1979) is a Finnish politician. A member of the Finns Party, she has represented Satakunta in the Parliament of Finland since April 2015. She was the Finns Party candidate for the 2018 Finnish presidential election.

List of members of the Parliament of Finland, 2015–19

This article lists the members of the Parliament of Finland from 2015 to 2019. The 37th eduskunta follows the parliamentary election held on 19 April 2015. There are 200 MPs in the Parliament.

Maria Lohela

Maria Lohela (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈmɑriɑ ˈlohelɑ], born 11 June 1978) is a Finnish politician. She has served as a Member of Parliament for Finland Proper since 2011. After having maintained her seat in the 2015 election, Lohela was Speaker of the Parliament of Finland 2015-2018. 36 years old when elected Speaker, she is one of the youngest MPs to hold that office in the parliament's history. Before her parliamentary career, she took her bachelor's degree at University of Turku, majoring in English language. She has also served as a member of the Turku city council between 2009 and 2012.

Lohela has been a proponent of a tighter immigration policy for Finland. Along with other prominent Finns Party politicians, Lohela was one of the authors of the so-called "Nuiva Manifesti" (Finnish for "The sour manifesto"), an election campaign programme critical of current Finnish immigration policy.On 13 June 2017, Lohela and 19 others left the Finns Party parliamentary group to found the New Alternative (later Blue Reform) parliamentary group, which subsequently took the place of the Finns Party in the Sipilä cabinet. The split sparked debate on the seat of the Speaker, which was traditionally reserved for the second biggest parliamentary party. After negotiations, the parties came into the conclusion that Lohela would vacate her seat for the National Coalition Party in February 2018. On 5 February 2018, Paula Risikko was elected as the next speaker, while Lohela returned to her role as a MP.On 21 January 2019, Lohela announced that she would leave the Blue Reform in order to join Liike Nyt movement.

Maria Tolppanen

Eeva Maria Tolppanen (born 24 November 1952) is a Finnish politician, representing the Social Democratic Party in the Parliament of Finland. She has served in the Parliament since 2011 and in the City Council of Vaasa since 2013. Tolppanen formerly represented the Finns Party and got elected to the Parliament twice as a member of the party, but switched to the SDP in 2016.

Martti Mölsä

Martti Kullervo Mölsä (born 2 April 1952 in Kihniö, Finland) is a Finnish politician. He was first elected to parliament in 2011, representing the Finns Party. Reelected in 2015, as a member of the Finns Party, Mölsä and 19 others established the New Alternative parliamentary group on 13 June 2017, which later became Blue Reform.

Parliament of Finland

The Parliament of Finland (Finnish: Suomen eduskunta, Swedish: Finlands riksdag) is the unicameral supreme legislature of Finland, founded on 9 May 1906. In accordance with the Constitution of Finland, sovereignty belongs to the people, and that power is vested in the Parliament. The Parliament consists of 200 members, 199 of whom are elected every four years from 13 multi-member districts electing 7-22 MPs using the proportional d'Hondt method. In addition, there is one member from Åland.

Legislation may be initiated by either the Government or one of the members of Parliament. The Parliament passes legislation, decides on the state budget, approves international treaties, and supervises the activities of the government. It may bring about the resignation of the Finnish Government, override presidential vetoes, and alter the constitution. To make changes to the constitution, amendments must be approved by two successive parliaments, with an election cycle in between, or passed as an emergency law with a 166/200 majority. Most MPs work in parliamentary groups which correspond with the political parties. As of June 2018, the Parliament comprises ten parliamentary groups and one independent MP. Since the establishment of the Parliament in 1905, the parliamentary majority has been held once by a single party – the Social Democrats in the 1916 election. Thus, for the Government to gain a majority in the Parliament, coalition governments are favored. These are generally formed by at least two of the three historically major parties: the Social Democrats, Centre, and National Coalition. Ministers are often but not necessarily MPs. The Parliament meets in the Parliament House (Finnish: Eduskuntatalo, Swedish: Riksdagshuset), which is located in central Helsinki.

The most recent parliamentary election took place on April 19, 2015. The Centre Party, the Finns Party, and the National Coalition Party cooperated to form the Sipilä Cabinet, a centre-right coalition government. Following the split of the Finns Party in June 2017, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (kesk.) terminated the government's co-operation with the Finns Party and proposed a new coalition consisting of three groups: the intact Centre and National Coalition parties, as well as Blue Reform, a new party consisting solely of former members of the Finns Party.

Pentti Oinonen

Pentti Juhani Oinonen (born 11 June 1952 in Kontiolahti) is a Finnish politician and member of Finnish Parliament, representing the Finns Party. He was elected to Finnish Parliament in 2007 for Northern Savonia, and maintained his seat in 2011. In 2015 Oinonen was re-elected again, this time for Savonia-Karelia.

On 13 June 2017, Oinonen and 19 others left the Finns Party parliamentary group to found the New Alternative parliamentary group, which later became known as Blue Reform.

Pirkko Ruohonen-Lerner

Pirkko Anneli Ruohonen-Lerner (born 6 February 1957) is a Finnish politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Finland. She is a member of the Finns Party, part of the European Conservatives and Reformists.

She was elected to the Finnish Parliament in 2007 and served as a member of parliament till 2015. She was the chairwoman of the party's parliamentary group 2011–2014. In April 2015, Ruohonen-Lerner succeeded Sampo Terho in the European Parliament when Terho was elected to Parliament of Finland.In her political career she has served as a member of the council of the municipality of Myrskylä 1985-1988 (then with the National Coalition Party), and as a member of the council of the city of Porvoo since 1996.

Sampo Terho

Sampo Terho (Born 20 September 1977) is a Finnish politician and the current Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sports. He is the chairman of Suomalaisuuden Liitto and was earlier a Member of the European Parliament.

Terho graduated from the University of Tampere in 2003 with a Master's degree in Finnish History, and has worked as a researcher in the Finnish National Defence University. He has written a book on the history of capital punishment. Terho has also served as a peacekeeper in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Terho received the second largest number of votes on the Finns Party (then known as the True Finns) electoral list in the 2009 European Parliament election. He succeeded Timo Soini in the European Parliament when Soini was elected to Parliament of Finland in the 2011 election. He was re-elected in the 2014 election.

Terho participated in the 2015 parliamentary election and was elected to the parliament with 10,067 personal votes. His term in the European Parliament ended on 27 April, when Terho officially accepted the seat in the Finnish Parliament. He subsequently became the chairman of the Finns Party's parliamentary group. On 5 May 2017, he started as the Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sports in Sipilä Cabinet.In 2017, Terho ran against Jussi Halla-aho for party chairmanship, but ultimately lost the chairmanship election at the party convention on 10 June. On 13 June, Terho and 19 others left the Finns Party parliamentary group to found the New Alternative parliamentary group which was turned into a new party known as Blue Reform. After the split, the New Alternative group took the Finns Party's place in the cabinet and Terho continued as a Minister.

Terho wrote a chamber music piece, of around five minutes long, to celebrate Finland's 100 years of independence, for the Kuopio city orchestra. The piece is arranged by Terho with conductor Heikki Elo, who together have orchestrated the piece.

Sipilä Cabinet

The cabinet of Juha Sipilä is the 74th and incumbent government of Finland. It was formed following the parliamentary election of 2015 and formally appointed by President Sauli Niinistö on 29 May 2015. Since June 2017, the cabinet has consisted of a coalition formed by the Centre Party, Blue Reform and the National Coalition Party. The cabinet's Prime Minister is Juha Sipilä.

Following the parliamentary election of 2015 and cabinet discussions, a coalition government consisting of the three largest centre-right parties – the Centre Party, the National Coalition Party, and the Finns Party – was formed. Centre returned to lead the government after four years in opposition. This was the first time that a right-wing populist party, namely the Finns Party, had participated in a Finnish government and the first time since 1979 that the Swedish People's Party was left out. The center-right coalition had a total of 124 seats (62%) in the 200-seat parliament when it started. On 22 June 2016, Finns Party MP Maria Tolppanen joined the Social Democratic Party, which decreased the government's share to 123 seats.As a result of the 2017 Finns Party leadership election, Jussi Halla-aho became the party's leader. On 12 June 2017, Sipilä and Orpo declared that they did not see grounds for continued co-operation with the Finns Party, effectively announcing the imminent dissolution of the Sipilä Cabinet. They cited disagreements in the parties' value bases, as well as Halla-aho's newfound leadership of his party from Brussels as obstacles for maintaining the three-party coalition. On the following day, 13 June 2017, a group split from the Finns Party forming a new parliamentary group called Blue Reform (initially New Alternative), and declared a willingness to continue in the cabinet. As a result, Blue Reform took the Finns Party's place in the cabinet and the cabinet continued with the same ministers as before, with the Finns Party entering opposition. After the split, the total number of seats held by the government changed a few times due to the shifting allegiance of some Finns Party MPs, but ultimately was settled to 106 seats, of which one is the speaker of the parliament, and as a result is unable to vote.The Sipilä cabinet is the most male-dominated government in contemporary Finnish history. It consists of 17 ministers, of which twelve are men and five women.

Timo Soini

Timo Juhani Soini (born 30 May 1962) is a Finnish politician who is the co-founder and former leader of the Finns Party. He served as Deputy Prime Minister of Finland from 2015 to 2017 and has been Minister of Foreign Affairs since 2015.He was elected as a member of the Espoo city council in 2000 and the Parliament of Finland in 2003. In the 2009 European Parliament election he won a seat in the European Parliament with Finland's highest personal vote share (nearly 10% of all votes), becoming the first member of the Finns Party in the European Parliament. He was a member of the European Parliament from 2009 until 2011, when he returned to the Finnish Parliament.

In the 2011 parliamentary election, his party won 19.1% of the votes, which was described as "shocking" and "exceptional" by the Finnish media. Soini himself won the most votes of all candidates, leaving behind the Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb and the Minister of Finance Jyrki Katainen in their Uusimaa electoral district. Helsingin Sanomat concluded that "Timo Soini rewrote the electoral history books".Soini has become one of the internationally best-known critics of European Union bailouts and safety mechanisms. Following the 2015 parliamentary election, his party joined a coalition government and Soini became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in May 2015. In March 2017 Soini announced that he would step down as Chair of the Finns Party in June 2017, causing a hotly contested leadership election. After the selection of Jussi Halla-aho as new party chairman – prompting a break between Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and the Finns Party – Soini declared his intention to form a new parliamentary group and remain in the government, causing a split in the party. Soini was subsequently expelled from the party along with the other defector MPs.

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