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Populist, anti-EU surge does not materialize in Finland

27 May 2019, 02:07 ( 3 Months ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
Photo Source: Ministry of Justice.

No major increase in the votes for the anti-EU populist Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party) was seen in the European Parliament election in Finland on Sunday, whereas the pro-EU Vihreä Liitö (Green League) got more support.

According to a prognosis from the national broadcaster Yle, the Kansallinen Kokoomus (National Coalition Party-NCP) won 20.4 percent of the votes, the largest among all parties, and would retain its three seats.

The Vihreä Liitö came the second with 15.4 percent of votes, and made the proportionally largest gains as it increased their MEPs to two.

The SosialidemokraattinenPuolue (Social Democratic Party of Finland-SDP), currently the largest party in Finnish Parliament, retained two MEPs. The populist Perussuomalaiset was the fourth with 14.3 percent of the votes and got two positions as well.

Suomen Keskusta (Centre Party of Finland), the leading party in the previous Finnish government, lost one of their seats and got two. Vasemmistoliitto (Left Alliance), and Suomenruotsalainenkansanpuolue (Swedish People's Party of Finland-RKP) both retained their one-MEP positions.

Finland has totally 13 reserved seats in the European Parliament. Finland would get a seat more if the UK leaves the European Union. It was not clear who would get the additional seat.

Sami Borg, professor of politology at the Tampere University, said on national broadcaster Yle that the populists were not able to mobilize their backers. Their share of votes was only slightly more than in the 2014 election.

Borg said the rise of the Greens in Finland matched the trend in the rest of Europe.

The turnout was 42.7 percent, a slight increase than previous election.

Commenting on the low turnout, Elina Kestila-Kekkonen, professor of Turku University, said the European identity in Finland is not so large that voting in the European Parliament election would be comparable to the national parliamentary election.