Wednesday, 15 April 2015 11:04

Finland, vigorous election campaigns among some anti NATO and EU protests

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If you do not know 19 of April 2015 is the date of the Finnish Parliamentary elections and according to the current rules the period 8-14.4.2015 was the time of the preliminary elections inside Finland. According to an article of Helsinki Times (http://www.hs.fi/politiikka/a1428983371550), this time the percentage of the voters who gave their vote beforehand was slightly higher 31,9% vs. the last Parliamentary elections in 2011, 31,2%.

Well during the last 17 years I have never seen so lively election campaigns and compared to previous years this time many of the candidates are young people. According to me both, the rise of the youth and the untypical for the Finnish nature vast campaign activity are pretty much due to the failure of the old-fashioned governing practises applied in the country so far. More and more local people start comprehending that keeping Finland in the shadows of the True Finns mentality (typical for other local parties as well), keeps Finland aside from the global trends and realities, which is really harmful for our small export-oriented economy. The signs for that are evident from everywhere – the downgrade of the Finnish credit rating by S&P and the warning by Fitch or the emigration of Björn Wahlroos, Karl Fazer (prominent local entrepreneurs) and many ordinary well educated young people and so. The latter must have been strong enough wake-up calls for the small nation, but still because of its bad age-structure, the majority of the voters are elderly people, it’s to be seen what will happen? One of the likely scenarios is another government of broad coalition, which I am afraid will be pretty much unable to implement the radical reforms needed. Some, including the likely coming prime minister Juha Sipilä, say that Finland could become the next Greece (http://www.thetoc.gr/eng/politics/article/austerity-overshadows-election-in-finland) others like the current Prime minister Alexander Stubb say that Finland could face another lost decade (see the same article)!?

But let me tell you also about an event, which remained completely unreported by the media here or elsewhere, including the social media (in Finland, strongly monitored). An anti NATO and EU protest, that took place on 11.4.2015 in the very centre of Helsinki, see the link bellow:
https://picasaweb.google.com/111511919851091363175/AntiNato?authkey=Gv1sRgCMeIp9P53dLSWQ

It was a group of around 100 people bringing anti NATO and EU slogans and shouting words in the same direction, including critics towards the current government. Obviously the protest was organised and as such guarded by the Police. Well according to a research done by the Confederation of Finnish Industries (http://yle.fi/uutiset/evan_nato-kysely_kannatus_kasvussa_vastustus_vahenee/7780073), at the beginning of this year 26% of the Finns supported a NATO membership vs 43% opposing it, which shows some dynamic in comparison to the 2012 study, when 14% of the Finns involved supported and 65% opposed a NATO membership. Even though the military expenditure (1,29% of the GDP – 2,7 mlrd euro) and industry are not something major for Finland, lately the country has been mentioned many times as one considering a NATO membership or one enhancing its military collaboration with the other Nordic countries. The latter are quite likely a reflection of the Ukraine crisis and the EU-Russia tensions, but if allowed to happen, will be a major shift from the neutrality image of the country, which I believe is a substantial dimension among the important election topics.

Kind regards, Rosti

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