Voter turnout in the 2017 elections to the Finnish Parliament has been estimated at 72.0 per cent. (Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)


THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS held in Finland on Sunday were exceptional, if not outright unprecedented, from a number of perspectives, according to Helsingin Sanomat.

The newspaper pointed out today that a record number of female candidates (92) won election to the Finnish Parliament for 2019–2023. The previous record dated back to 2015, when 85 female candidates ran a successful campaign for a seat on Arkadianmäki.

The Green Parliamentary Group, for example, is set to consist of 17 women and three men.

The elections were won with the smallest share of votes ever in Finland. The Social Democrats and Finns Party were involved in a close election-day tussle, with the former eventually coming out on top by a 0.2 percentage point margin and with a 17.7 per cent share of the vote.

The election day was unprecedentedly unforgiving for the outgoing coalition government, with the three ruling parties losing an all-time high of 34 seats in the Finnish Parliament. The losses were recorded by the Centre Party and Blue Reform, which lost 18 and 17 seats, respectively. The National Coalition, by contrast, gained a seat to emerge with a total of 38 in the 200-seat Parliament.

The record was previously held by the minority government of Prime Minister Mauno Koivisto (SDP), which lost 20 seats in the parliamentary elections of 1970.

The Centre also recorded its worst election result in a century. Its vote share of 13.8 per cent and seat tally of 31 are both record-lows since 1917, when the centrist agrarian party emerged from the elections with 26 seats.

Voter turnout, meanwhile, rose to its highest level since 1991, with estimates suggesting as many as 72.0 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot in the elections.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT