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News, 5/27/2014

European Parliament elections in Finland

Lucky thirteen on the way to Strasbourg

Photo: Antti Aimo-Koivisto/LehtikuvaEuropean Parliament elections 2014, European Union, Olli Rehn, Alexander Stubb, FinlandAlexander Stubb, front, and others in the National Coalition Party are not cheering for his European Parliament election victory, but rather for a Finnish goal in the Ice Hockey World championship, taking place on the same evening.

The results of the European Parliament elections, held on May 25, 2014, show that seven different Finnish parties will be sending representatives to Strasbourg, France. Every one of those parties will probably try to portray the election in a positive light.

However, certain winners won more than others in the fight for Finland’s 13 places in the 751-seat European Parliament. The conservative National Coalition Party can claim status as the biggest victor, with the most votes overall (390,112) and the largest amount of votes, by far, for a single candidate (Alexander Stubb, currently minister for European affairs and foreign trade, with 148,101). They are sending three people to Strasbourg, just as they did five years ago.

The conservative Centre Party also maintains its previous level and sends three representatives, and can take heart in a 0.6 percentage-point increase in support this time around, perhaps thanks to two big names who attracted numerous votes: Olli Rehn and Paavo Väyrynen. The populist “Finns” party is left with a bittersweet taste in its mouth after getting two places – one more than in 2009, but some 120,000 votes short of the third seat they had bragged they were aiming for.

The Left Alliance takes one seat, which is one more than it received in the previous European Parliament elections, and considers that a great victory. The Swedish People’s Party, catering to those who speak Finland’s other official language but also appealing to other minorities, held on to its single seat.

The Greens have to settle for one seat, a disappointment after the two they won in 2009. However, the Social Democrats, although they managed to tread water and keep their two places, are hard-pressed to explain to themselves how 5.2 percentage points of support disappeared in comparison with 2009.

Seven of the 13 MEP-elects are women, and several of the group have served in Strasbourg previously. While the post-election dust settles, pundits are turning their attention to the upcoming Finnish parliamentary election, to take place in April 2015 at the latest. Some consider the EU election a practice run for the domestic event, although voter turnout for Finnish elections far outstrips European Parliament contests. For the latter, 40.9 percent of Finnish voters showed up, just less than the European average of 43.1. For the Finnish parliamentary election in 2011, turnout reached 70.5 percent.

Meanwhile, things can change. Stubb, for example, is involved in a race for leadership of his party, and, when asked about his goals, has said “I’ll go wherever my country commands.” If he ends up staying in domestic politics, another member of the National Coalition Party will take his place in Strasbourg.

Top names fighting for scarce euro-seats


European Parliament election results list (Finnish broadcasting company Yle)
European Parliament election results, interactive map (Yle)

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Updated 5/27/2014

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