Finland. The nationalist and EU-critical party The True Finns increased their opinion support sharply at the beginning of the year. The true Finns, who have a critical attitude towards both immigrants and Swedish-speaking Finns, had gained just over 4% in the 2007 election.
In the electoral movement, the Sann Finns opposed compulsory Swedish education in schools and thus ended up in confrontation with the Swedish People’s Party, the so-called Swedish foremost defender. The charismatic leader of the True Finns Timo Soini made several populist statements, including he called for reduced immigration and a halt to Finland’s contribution to the eurozone’s measures to rescue crisis economies in southern Europe. The party also proposed political measures against the growing economic and social divisions in Finland.
According to Countryaah official site, the election became a protest against the government and gave sensational success to the true Finns. The party took 19% of the vote and 39 parliamentary seats, more than the opinion polls had shown, and thus came in third place in the election. The Assembly Party won an election for the first time and received 20.4% and 44 seats, followed by the Social Democrats with 19.1% and 42 seats. Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi’s Center Party suffered a major electoral defeat and declined from 51 seats to 35, holding 15.8% of the vote. The loss led to Kiviniemi resigning and the Center leaving the government.
New government leader became the Collective Party leader Jyrki Katainen (39 years). He did not want to go past successful True Finns and tried to form a tripartite government with the Socialist Party, Social Democrats and True Finns. Negotiations were difficult, and the true Finns chose to drop the talks in May when the other two parties supported the EU’s decision on support packages for Portugal’s crisis economy.
Only at the end of June was Jyrki Katainen able to present the new government. It became a six-party coalition with the Socialist Party, the Social Democrats, the Left League, the Green League, the Swedish People’s Party and the Christian Democrats. Alongside the new Prime Minister Katainen, Social Democrats party leader Jutta Urpilainen was appointed new finance minister. New Foreign Minister became Social Democrat Erkki Tuomioja.
Swedish Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson was given a key role in the government’s project of creating a long-term language strategy to develop two viable national languages in Finland, Finnish and Swedish. Ahead of the January 2012 presidential election, former President and Minister of Finance Sauli Niinistö of the Collective Party emerged as a big favorite, ahead of the leader of the True Finns and Social Democrat and former Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen.
1970 Left Offensive and Civil Counter Offensive
The scope of the changes in the political system was reinforced by a revolution-like ideological development. The changes were greater than in 1944. Not least because it was the entire labor movement that took the initiative now. The white reaction of 1918 had managed to dominate the cultural development of the 1950’s – a Finnish version of McCarthyism in the United States. But in the 1960’s, almost all the values in disarray that the bourgeois traditionally had stood for in society and in social life came as well.
But the fear of socialism created by the offensive of the labor movement, but also student and cultural radicalism, paved the way for a new civil reaction. The new government coalition formed in 1966 also failed to eradicate the dissatisfaction caused by the structural changes in society. From 1970, loudly reactionary bourgeois protest parties were a permanent phenomenon in Finnish politics. Together with the changes in society, this reduced the voter base for the Center Party – formerly the Agrarian Federation – and for the DFFF.
The comprehensive reform policy was continued, despite the reduced political influence of the left and the bourgeois ideological counter-offensive. Along with the boom in 1972-1975, this reform policy largely managed to stabilize conditions in society. Finland had approached the rest of Scandinavia. At the same time, Finland’s economic dependence on the rest of the capitalist world had increased. In the end, the international crisis also reached Finland in the second half of the 1970’s. Then, too, the civilian counter-offensive to the left reached its peak.
The bourgeoisie exploited the crisis for an ideological counter-offensive is a feature common to all the capitalist industrialized countries. The Finnish feature is in the nature of the reaction. The distance to the 1960’s was so small that the reaction could pick up trends from white Finland. It was expressed in e.g. the attacks on workers’ self-organization. The JRC again had to threaten with a general strike in order to get the job buyers to respect the agreements they had signed.
The defensive tactics forced by the left also led to changes among the communists. The FKP’s participation in the government, and in particular its support for the revenue policy agreements, created opposition in the party. Opposition was reinforced because the majority of student radicals joined the party – which also effectively countered the rise of small left-wing extremist sects in Finland. The opposition from the opposition caused the party leadership to step down from the government in 1971. It helped to stabilize strength conditions. After this, there were in fact two communist parties within the FKP. However, the bourgeois offensive in the late 1970’s prompted the majority to resume government cooperation.
Unlike the Communists, the SDP was characterized by greater internal agreement. It was a consequence of the bourgeois offensive that was first and foremost directed at social democracy. The SDP was accused of betraying the “western” social democratic traditions. On the other hand, neither SDP nor FKP were able to clearly develop a Finnish solution to widespread unemployment, rising inflation or the current account deficit. Both labor parties underpinned the same austerity policy pursued by the governments of the other capitalist industrialized countries.