Green League

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The Green League (Finnish: Vihreä liitto, colloquially vihreät, Swedish: Gröna förbundet), abbreviated to VIHR and often shortened to the Greens,[4] is a green political party in Finland.[5][6] The Green League is among the four largest political parties in the country, with the three others being the Social Democratic Party, the National Coalition Party, and the Centre Party. The Greens hold fifteen seats in the Finnish Parliament and one in the European Parliament. Since June 2017, the party’s leader and chairperson has been Touko Aalto.

Founded in 1987, the party absorbed a number of green organisations and their members, including four MPs elected in 1987. The party won ten seats in the 1991 election. Despite falling to nine seats in 1995 election, Pekka Haavisto joined Paavo Lipponen's first cabinet, which was composed of a rainbow coalition. This move made the Green League the first green party in a national cabinet. The party remained in government until 2002, when it resigned from the cabinet in opposition to nuclear power. In 2007, the party peaked at 15 seats, and joined the centre-right-led government. At the 2011 election, the party fell to ten seats. Nevertheless, the Greens were invited to join a six-party rainbow coalition government. In the 2015 parliamentary election, the party returned to its previous best of 15 seats, and at 8.53%, achieved their best ever share of the overall vote.

The party is a member of the Global Greens and the European Green Party, while its MEP, Heidi Hautala, sits with The Greens–European Free Alliance in the European Parliament. Originally split on whether Finland should join the European Union, the Green League is pro-European and was the first Finnish party in favor of the federalisation of the European Union.[7]

Green League
Finnish: Vihreä liitto
Swedish: Gröna förbundet
Abbreviation VIHR
Chairperson Touko Aalto
Secretary Lasse Miettinen
Interim secretary Kaisa Hernberg
Vice-chairperson Maria Ohisalo
Vice-chairperson Hanna Halmeenpää
Vice-chairperson Veli Liikanen
Speaker of the party delegation Kaisa Hernberg
Founded 28 February 1987
Legalized 1988
Headquarters Fredrikinkatu 33, Helsinki
Newspaper Vihreä Lanka
Women's wing Vihreät naiset
Student and youth wing ViNO
Membership (2013) 8,034[1]
Ideology Green politics
Political position Centre-left[2][3]
European affiliation European Green Party
International affiliation Global Greens
European Parliament group The Greens–European Free Alliance
Colors      Green
Slogan Neljän vuodenajan puolesta
15 / 200
European Parliament
1 / 13
536 / 8,999


The party was founded 28 February 1987, and registered as a political party the next year. Political activity had begun already in the early 1980s, when environmental activists, feminists, disillusioned young politicians from the marginalized Liberal People's Party and other active groups began to campaign on green issues in Finland. In 1995 it was the first European Green party to be part of a state-level cabinet.

The party was founded as a popular movement, and thus retains the descriptor liitto, "league". Initially, there was much resistance within the movement against the founding of a political party, motivated by Robert Michels' iron law of oligarchy, which claims that movements inevitably degenerate into oligarchies when they create a formal organization.[8] The party still especially stresses openness and democratic decision-making. The liitto was later dropped from the Finnish and Swedish names in advertisements; the word remains in the official name.

The first two parliamentary representatives were elected even before the registration, in the 1983 parliamentary election. These were the first independent representatives in the Finnish Parliament. In 1987 the number of seats rose to four, and in 1991 to ten.

About half of the party’s members were against joining the European Union in 1994. Later, polls showed that most Greens were anti-Eurozone.[9] The party heads declined to fight against euro adoption.

In the 1995 election, the Green League received a total of nine seats out of 200. The party joined the coalition cabinet led by the Social Democrats, and Pekka Haavisto became the Minister of the Environment,[10] thus becoming the first green minister in Europe.

The Green League received 7.3% of the vote, and gained two additional seats in the 1999 election, raising the total to 11. The Greens continued in the next coalition cabinet, but resigned in protest on 26 May 2002, after the cabinet's decision to allow the construction of a new nuclear plant was accepted by Parliament. In 2003, the Green League received 8.0% of the vote, receiving a total of 14 seats. They increased their seats to 15 in the 2007 election, while receiving 8.5% of the vote. In the 2011 election, the party lost five seats.

In the 2009 European Parliament elections, the Greens gained two of the thirteen Finnish seats in the European Parliament, which were occupied by Satu Hassi and Heidi Hautala.

At the municipal level, the Greens are an important player in the largest cities of Finland. In the municipal election of 2008 the Greens received 8.9% of the vote; the vote share was considerably higher in Helsinki, where the Greens became the second largest party with 23.2% of the vote.[11] In several other cities, the Greens achieved the position of the third largest party. Its weak spot is the rural countryside, particularly in those municipalities experiencing strong outward migration.

A 2012 study indicated that the Greens are the most popular party among journalists.[12]

In 2017, the party's then-chairperson Ville Niinistö announced that he would step down as chair of the Green League in June 2017; the statement caused a leadership election. There were six candidates running for party chair, of whom MP Touko Aalto won the election.[13]

The Federation of Green Youth and Students is the Green League's youth organisation.

Ideology and policies

Vihreiden vaaliteltta Isolla Roballa
An election canvassing tent for the Greens on Iso Roobertinkatu in Helsinki.

The Green League is no longer a protest party, nor an alternative movement. Some Green candidates in the elections reject classification as "left" or "right". Economic opinions of the members range between left and right.[8] However, on average members of party place their party between the Left Alliance and Social Democrats.[14] In comparison with some other European green parties, the Finnish Greens are noticeably more pro-European and centrist, has least linked with communists past, compare with the Social Democrats and Leftists.

In the chamber of the Parliament and assembly rooms of local councils, Green League representatives sit between the Finns and the Social Democrats. The party is one of the strongest proponents for same-sex marriage. The party is also distinct in its opposition against universal male conscription and wants to opt for a gender-neutral, selective version. The eventual goal of the Greens is voluntary military service.

In 2010, the party's policy platform on immigration called for immigrants to study Finland's official languages, Finnish or Swedish, or lose social welfare benefits. Then Green Party chair and Labour Minister Anni Sinnemäki stated it was an immigrant's duty to learn the language of their new home country.[15]

In 2015, the party included the universal basic income as a major proposal in their platform.[16]

Elections results

Parliamentary elections

Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/- Notes
1983 43,754 1.47
2 / 200
1987 115,988 4.03
4 / 200
Increase 2
1991 185,894 6.82
10 / 200
Increase 6
1995 181,198 6.52
9 / 200
Decrease 1
1999 194,846 7.27
11 / 200
Increase 2
2003 223,846 8.01
14 / 200
Increase 3
2007 234,429 8.46
15 / 200
Increase 1
2011 213,172 7.25
10 / 200
Decrease 5
2015 253,102 8.53
15 / 200
Increase 5

Municipal elections

Year Councillors Votes Share of votes
1984 101 76,441 2.8%
1988 94 61,581 2.3%
1992 343 184,787 6.9%
1996 292 149,334 6.3%
2000 338 171,707 7.7%
2004 313 175,933 7.4%
2008 370 228,277 8.9%
2012 323 213,100 8.5%
2017 534 320,235 12.5%

European Parliament elections

Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/- Notes
1996 170,670 7.6
1 / 16
1999 166,786 13.4
2 / 16
Increase 1
2004 172,844 10.4
1 / 14
Decrease 1
2009 206,439 12.4
2 / 13
Increase 1
2014 160,967 9.3
1 / 13
Decrease 1

Presidential elections

Parliamentarian and then former MEP Heidi Hautala was a candidate in the presidential elections in 2000 and 2006, taking approximately a 3.5% share of votes in the first round. Pekka Haavisto was the first Green candidate in the 2012 election to enter the second round. Haavisto got an 18.8% share of votes in the first round, and lost to centre-right Sauli Niinistö in the second round held on 5 February.

Election year Candidate 1st round 2nd round
# of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall votes  % of overall vote
2000 Heidi Hautala 100,740 3.3 (#5)
2006 Heidi Hautala 105,248 3.5 (#4)
2012 Pekka Haavisto 574,275 18.8 (#2) 1,077,425 37.4 (#2)


List of party chairs

Heidi Hautala A4

Heidi Hautala

Pekka Sauri

Pekka Sauri

Pekka Haavisto 2x3

Pekka Haavisto


Tuija Brax

Satu Hassi, Finland-MIP-Europaparlament-by-Leila-Paul-1

Satu Hassi

Osmo Soininvaara

Osmo Soininvaara

Tarja Cronberg Finnish MEP 2014

Tarja Cronberg

Anni Sinnem%C3%A4ki Kolmen Sep%C3%A4n Aukiolla

Anni Sinnemäki

Ville Niinist%C3%B6 2009

Ville Niinistö

Touko Aalto

Touko Aalto

Current members of Parliament

The following 15 Greens politicians were elected to the Finnish Parliament in the 2015 parliamentary election.[17]

Hanna Halmeenp%C3%A4%C3%A4

Hanna Halmeenpää

Olli-Poika Parviainen 2015

Olli-Poika Parviainen

Current members of the European Parliament

Since 2014, the Green League has been represented by one MEP in the European Parliament.

See also


  1. ^ STT (2011-02-07). "Vihreiden jäsenmäärä kasvanut räjähdysmäisesti - - Politiikka" (in Finnish). Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2013-12-23.
  2. ^ Lane, Jan-Erik; Svante Ersson (2008). "The Nordic Countries". In Colomer, Josep Maria. Comparative European politics. Taylor & Francis. p. 260. ISBN 978-0-415-43755-4.
  3. ^ Josep M. Colomer (25 July 2008). Political Institutions in Europe. Routledge. pp. 260–. ISBN 978-1-134-07354-2.
  4. ^ "Yle party poll: Centre recovers as Greens, Finns Party falter". Yle Uutiset. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  5. ^ Claire Annesley (11 January 2013). Political and Economic Dictionary of Western Europe. Routledge. pp. 177–. ISBN 978-1-135-35547-0.
  6. ^ Daniele Caramani (29 March 2004). The Nationalization of Politics: The Formation of National Electorates and Party Systems in Western Europe. Cambridge University Press. pp. 303–. ISBN 978-0-521-53520-5.
  7. ^ Raunio, Tapio; Tiilikainen, Teija (2003). Finland in the European Union. London: Routledge. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-7146-5375-4.
  8. ^ a b Rauli Mickelsson. Suomen puolueet - Historia, muutos ja nykypäivä. Vastapaino 2007, 429 pages.
  9. ^ "4.2 Suomi Euroopan Unionissa".
  10. ^ "Composition of a certain government, 66. Lipponen". Valtioneuvosto. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  11. ^ "Vaalit 2008 tulospalvelu - Helsinki - Puolueiden kannatus" (in Finnish). 2008-10-30. Retrieved 2013-12-23.
  12. ^ "Aamulehti" (in Finnish). Retrieved 2013-12-23.
  13. ^ "Touko Aalto vihreiden puheenjohtajaksi" (in Finnish). Vihreät. 17 June 2017. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  14. ^ Elo, Kimmo – Rapeli, Lauri (2008): Suomalaisten politiikkatietämys. Oikeusministeriön julkaisuja 2008:6.
  15. ^ "Greens to Immigrants: Learn Finnish or Lose Benefits". YLE. 11-10-2010. Retrieved 11-10-2010. Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help)
  16. ^ "Vihreät haluaa 560 euron perustulon kaikille". Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  17. ^ "Eduskuntavaalit 2015". Yle. Retrieved 22 April 2015.

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