The Finns Party (Finnish: Perussuomalaiset), according to a Finnish Broadcasting poll in September, 2013, is the second most popular party in Finland. It is, from the general election of 2011, the third largest party in the national parliament (Eduskunta) – and the largest party in opposition.
Of the main political organizations in Finland, it is both the youngest – established in 1995 – and one of the oldest – with roots going back to the 19th century. A significant predecessor was the Finnish Rural Party – established in the 1950’s and disbanded in the early 1990’s. The predominant raison d’être of the Party is the recognition of Finland as a nation and a culture – and to maintain and develop those characteristics in an ever-evolving global framework.
The following tables show the development and success of the Finns Party in recent Finnish elections:
National Parliamentary Elections:
|Elections||Support||Members of Parliament|
|National Parliamentary Election 2007||4,0 %||5|
|National Parliamentary Election 2011||19,0 %||39|
Local Municipal and Communal Elections:
|Elections||Support||Local Council Members|
|Local Election 2008||5,4 %||443|
|Local Election 2012||12,3 %||1195|
|Elections||Support||The Finns Party Candidate|
|Presidential Election 2006||3,4 %||Timo Soini|
|Presidential Election 2012||9,4 %||Timo Soini|
European Union (EU) Parliamentary Elections:
|EU Parliamentary Election 2004||0,5 %||0|
|EU Parliamentary Election 2009||9,8 %||1|
In the National Parliamentary Election of 2011, the Finns Party received more than 560 000 votes. This is a result which may indeed be termed to be of ‘landslide’ proportions.
The Finns Party has support throughout Finland – it is geographically dispersed as well as represented in both urban and rural areas. There are some 1200 Finns Party municipal and communal council members throughout Finland. The Party has one MEP in the European Parliament as well as representatives in significant international organisations such as the Council of Europe, OSCE, Arctic Council, Inter-Parliamentary Union, and Nordic Council.
THE PARTY PLATFORM IN A NUTSHELL
The Finns Party platform and policy is built on the work ethic, entrepreneurship, and a balanced social welfare system linked to Christian values. The Party has support from all sectors of the political spectrum so it defies being put into any traditional left-right pigeon hole. One unifying aspect is the attempt of the Party to approach matters with rational solutions with emphasis on activism and creativity while maintaining respect for both social and individual responsibility. The Party is oriented towards the individual as the building block in the society and is cautious towards the growing harmfulness of corporatism. In sum, the basic foundation of the Party is a recognition of the Progressive traditions of equality of opportunity for all, an equitable and defendable distribution of wealth, and a public responsibility towards those citizens who, due to circumstances beyond their control, lack the possibility to pursue a good life.
“Justice for all” is a concern that permeates the Party’s whole platform and policy. The Party believes there is a responsibility to defend the economically disadvantaged and those in need who otherwise lack the resources to progress towards a good quality of life on their own. The state has an important role in Finnish societal and welfare policy to help provide opportunity and education and help to assure physical and mental health. At the same time, the individual has the responsibility to make every effort to provide for their own well-being and that of their families and communities – self-reliance is a valuable attribute which should never be under-estimated.
An important part of “justice for all” is that enforcement and punishment related to laws should be applied equally to all – with no consideration given to different economic and political standing of those violating laws.
Private enterprises are key actors in creating the general welfare and they should be encouraged and supported so a competitive and creative market environment and infrastructure can be ensured for Finland. These enterprises must also follow through with responsibility towards both the individual and community. This balanced approach is a major reason the Party receives solid support from owners of small and mid-size businesses. Overall one might think of the general economy to consist of ‘cake makers’ and ‘cake eaters’ – the Finns Party is definitely oriented towards the ‘cake makers’ – be they business owners, logistics industry workers, health care professionals, etc.
Corruption is an insidious disease which has no place in a modern democracy. Finland is, on the whole, considered to be a rather non-corrupted society and Finland scores high on measures of international comparison. However, corruption on some levels still does occur and the Party is all for more openness and transparency in matters of public decision-making and justice. Also, Finland, as a responsible member of the European community, must be an active participant in eliminating corruption internationally.
THE PARTY’S EU POLICY
The Finns Party is a leading EU-skeptic party in Finland. The Party argues that the European Union is working far below its capability and much could be done for improvement. Its opinion is that the EU meddles too much into citizens’ every day affairs and is creating excessive central governance in Brussels. The Party does not accept the over-centralisation of power to unelected technocrats and commissioners who are too distant from the citizens in the EU countries. Possibilities have to be increased for the people’s voice in local areas to reach the decision-makers. The Party also believes that the EU membership costs for Finland are too high and the calculation process needs re-evaluation and correction.
The Party is committed to a continuous revision and renewal process for the EU – the dynamism of such a diverse community and a corresponding need for change must be recognized. The Party believes Finland should renegotiate its membership in the Union, transfer more power back to Finland from Brussels, reduce the power of the EU Commission, and diminish common responsibility in economic affairs. The latter is very important with regard to respecting the no-bailout clause of the Maastricht Treaty. The Party believes that distributing existing bank debt across Europe will result in an even wider crisis. It is NOT the function of the EU to rescue the financial disasters of the investment bankers! Other solutions must be found.
With respect to the Euro single currency, the Party wishes to open and encourage discussion about various options. The current financial crisis has shown that the Euro is not only a financial project but also a political one. The Euro members differ too much with each other for the Euro to function properly without some kind of integrated financial framework. Any integration requires extremely creative solutions – taking into account both areas for common responsibility as well as the preservation of the members’ own economic environments.
Further information in English:
English summary of the Finns Party Programme in General Election 2011: Read more >
The Finns Party Parliamentary Group: Read more >
Timo Soini, Chairman. Read more >
Sampo Terho, The Finns Party MEP. Read more >
THE FINNS PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP
Secretary for International Affairs
tel. +358 50 574 1763
email: samuli.virtanen [a] parliament.fi
THE FINNS PARTY OFFICE
tel. +358 40 172 7525
email. matias.turkkila [a] perussuomalaiset.fi
TIMO SOINI’S OFFICE
tel. ++358 9 432 4163