According to early polling data, the leftist Finnish Social Democrats are predicted to have a lead in Finland’s general election. A victory for the Social Democrats would be the first in Finland in nearly two decades. The newly instituted two-hundred-seat Finnish Parliament garnered competition for seats on Sunday from the opposition Social Democrats, the nationalist-populist Finns Party, and the conservatives, according to Al Jazeera. Although official election results are not expected to be released until late Sunday or early Monday, recent national opinion polls have suggested that the Social Democrats would become the largest elected party, with the right to appoint the nation’s Prime Minister, with twenty percent of the vote. The Social Democrats have run in favour of work-related immigration and refugee admittance on humanitarian grounds, while the Finns party has asserted that the nation has gone too far, at its own expense, in addressing climate and migration-related issues, according to Al Jazeera.
The leader of the Social Democratic Party, Antti Rinne stated in reaction to the party’s predicted victory, “For the first time since 1999 we are the largest party in Finland … SDP is the prime minister party,” according to DW News. Rinne further stated to his supporters, in reaction to polling numbers pointing toward a victory, “Let us, my friends, take the Finnish society toward sustainable climate, economic, and social policies,” also in accordance with reports from DW News. As current Prime Minister Supila offered congratulations to the Social Democrats due in part to the fact that his Center Party did not perform well at the polls, there did not appear to be, according to most reports, much surprise that the electoral results pointed to a social democratic victory. The DW News reports that even in failing to gain a majority, the leader of the Finns party was shocked by the success of his party.
In the midst of a global fear concerning the rising populist prominence of various versions of right wing and alt-right parties at the ballot box, it is not bold to consider Finland’s electoral outcomes as liberal, even progressive victories. While, of course, election outcomes will always garner controversy and opposition, the focus of the electorally triumphant Social Democrats on immigration for “work-related” purposes, and contextually-based refugee aid represents a circumstantial progressive agenda that may not entirely quell the demands of the left, amongst its rising prominence. It is important to situate these observations, however within the context of the opposition agenda, which operated according to the baseline belief that interest in climate and migration justice inherently opposed the interests of the Finnish people. As a member of the European Union, it is relevant, and most likely helpful to the mission of international peace that Finland is now politically majority left.
The most prominent and vital relevant contextual information regarding the election is concerning the fact that the parliamentary elections of the European Union are upcoming, as well as the fact that Finland is set to take over the rotating presidential seat from Romania this summer, according to DW News. It has been predicted that numerous nationalist parties will make prominent runs in upcoming European parliamentary elections, and therefore Finland’s election results were also being followed and assessed by other European capitals. The Social Democratic victory in Finland in some ways provides protection for the widely liberal existing European Union policies concerning migration, national securities, and the environment. Although just one piece of a broader European, and consequently global puzzle of interconnectivity, the Finnish leftist victory may ensure a framework that provides a status quo European Union, which although of course not quite leftist enough for all, will prevent the elected legitimacy of nationalist parties from presenting policies and strategic, rhetorical conceptions of “rights,” “free speech,” etc.