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Finland Vote Latest In Euro Nationalist Trend …

  • April 22nd, 2011
  • Posted by 7thmin

finland-vote.jpgElections this month (17.4.11) in Finland produced another installment in the rise of support for militant groups against continuing immigration.

Posted by Lee Duffield with research by Haydn Rippon.

CLEAR TREND

The Perussuomalaiset, True Finn party picked up 39 seats, (under party leader Timo Soini, picture, with journalists), after having only five in the previous 200-seat parliament, and were the only real winners in the poll.

Their vote was 19%, making them literally overnight the third largest party.

The governing centre-right coalition looked set to stay in office, with shifting around in the order of the parties.

True Finn’s block will be big enough to put it in the position of a coalition partner in waiting, in case of falling-out among allies on the government benches.

vb.jpgThis could not be a surprise outcome in the current electoral climate.

The so-called “new nationalist” parties – anti-immigration, anti-Islamic, and anti-European Union as well – have been moving into the political mainstream; both in terms of a rising vote, and in strategies employed to get there.

See EUAustralia Online: “Le Pen daughter’s win”, 17.1.11; “Voting: Tense count in Sweden”, 21.9.10; “Wilders, horse-trading …”, 5.9.10; “Dutch elections …”, 10.6.10; “European Parliament: Hard to read”, 28.5.10; “Swiss vote on migration …”, 23.10.07.

VOTING RECORD

The voting record shows abiding minority support, with sudden surges, more frequent than before:

Vlaams Belang – VB (Flemish Interest) currently have 12 seats in the Belgian lower house, and three Senators; plus 11 members in the Flemish parliament and two Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). They get up to 15% of the vote, concentrated in Flanders.

The Sverigedemokraterna – SD (Swedish Democrats) received 7.5% in last year’s poll, getting into the 349-seat parliament for the first time, with a block of 20 members.

wilders.jpgThe Partij voor de Vrijhrid – PVV (Party for Freedom) in the Netherlands, led by Geert Wilders (picture), followed up on the success of the late, murdered Pim Fortuyn, in 2010 getting 15.5% of the popular vote, 24 out of 150 seats. In 2009 four MEPs were elected,

The British National Party, BNP, had two MEPs elected in the last poll, with 6.26% popular vote.

Schweizerische Volkspartei – SVP (Swiss People’s Party) has the strongest support with 28.9%, scoring a success last year in the referendum banning construction of minarets on Mosques.

The Lega Nord –LN (Nothern League) forms part of the Italian government coalition, after getting 8.3%.

Freiheitliche Partei Osterreichs
– FPO (Australian Freedom Party) received around 10-15% and is strong notably in local government.

The Dansk Folkeparti – DF (Danish People’s Party) took 13.8% in the 2007 elections and 15.3% in elections to the European Parliament.

le-pen-marine.jpgIn France the leader of the Front National – FN (National Front), Jean-Marie Le Pen, repeatedly generated a primary vote of 15-17% in Presidential elections; his successor, daughter Marine Le Pen (picture), is expected to contest the presidency. The party has had ups and downs, getting 4.29% in the 2007 national elections, and 6.3% for the European Parliament.

MAINSTREAM STRATEGIES

The figures mean that the parties have parliamentary status, and minority status, no longer fringe status.

They may yet turn out to be movements that rally around a few strong issues, then dissipate their strength quickly, divide, have much of their policy clothing stolen by the mainstream parties,  and evaporate – but they have been moving on an upward trajectory and staying around now, for some time.

While there are differences among them; mostly they have moved in canny ways to harness issues they may use, and adjust themselves to demands of contemporary life.

Some of the newer parties like PVV have devised blends of free thought (like support for gay rights)  and versions of free market economics (often with a reservation for pensions, out of consideration for non-immigrant working class followers).

Older parties in the group with compromising pasts have jettisoned polices, theories and paraphernalia linked to fascism.

Mass migration has proved the highly useful rallying point, as it will continue while large sections of the population are emphatic that they want migration stopped, and believe the major political parties are defying their demand that the unpleasant task be done.

migration-eu-boatpeople3.JPGIt is an issue like taxation that has always concerned people, gets acceptance as a part of life to be accepted, or endured (and with many acknowledged benefits), and so does not usually generate political passion; but it can, when the pressure is on, and in the current times, pressure is on – from the tension between communities in the cities, to the pressure of spectacular arrivals in Europe aboard small boats crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

See EUAustralua Online: “Boat people worries …”, 12.2.11; “Mass migration, asylum …”, 23.9.10; “EU relieved …”, 13.8.10; “Immigration: new sea tragedy”, 1.4.11.

Friction over assimilation, and Islam, complicates and aggravates the politics of immigration, beginning with anxiety over extremist cells promoting terror.

The European Union has comprehensive middle to longer-term plans for managing migration, to meet its own expected skills shortages and waning population in future decades: promoting economic development in home countries; planned education and training for jobs in Europe; temporary immigration, and other planned migration; coupled with more detailed border security and surveillance.

It has discovered afresh that mobilising joint action, and commitment of resources for such a large scale program, often against long-settled other approaches, takes much time – and time seems to be lacking while populations are on the move.

See EUAustralia Online: “Migration concerns for Europe”, 30.10.08; “Migration solutions within Europe”, 13.9.08; “Blitz of illegal migration to head reforms”, 17.5.07; “Backgrounder: Europe confers with Africa as migration pressure keeps mounting”, 21.11.06; “Taking place in the EU: Immigration …”, 3.12.06; “A bigger Europe and migration under control”, 6.1.206.

Reference

Helsinki Times, Helsinki, “World press considers implication of Finnish election”, 21.4.11.
http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/htimes/finland-in-the-world-press/15094-world-press-considers-implication-of-finnish-election.html, (22.4.11).

Ministry of Justice, Finland, Vaalit.fi (Elections home). http://www.vaalit.fi/53561.htm, (22.4.11).

Rippon H. (2011), “The digital crusade: the new European nationalists, Islam and the news media”, unpublished monograph.

Jon Worth, “The True Finns followed a well-known recipe for success”, The Guardian, Manchester, 21.4.11. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/21/true-finns-nationalist-populists-european-parties, (22.4.11).

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