Scandinavia: populists not as strong as feared

Posted on 29. May 2014

by Kati Temonen

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“No surprises” best describes the election results in Finland unlike in the two other Nordic EU-countries, Sweden and Denmark. The Swedish voters sent members of the populist Swedish Democrats and the Feminist party to the European Parliament as newcomers. The far-right Danish People’s Party won a third of the Danish vote and became the biggest Danish party in the new parliament.

There were no major changes to the voter turnout: In Finland, it was just 40,9 per cent, which was the lowest of all Nordic countries. Notwithstanding the greater visibility of European topics in the media and efforts by politicians to foster discussion, the low turnout was a disappointment. For many, the elections on  May 25 were not only about Europe but also a test for the upcoming national parliamentary elections in 2015. As for the young people, it seems that there were no real incentives to vote despite their increasing awareness of and interest in EU politics. For the ones that voted, the elections were more about the candidate and their values than about the party itself.

The liberal conservatives were the winners, followed by the centrist party. The anti-immigration “Finns” party ended up third and gained one extra seat, nevertheless, the result was more modest than expected and overshadowed by the success of right-wing populists in other countries like Front National in France. A majority of the Finns voted conventionally, or could even say conservatively, showing support for the deepening integration of the EU.

This article is a part of a series of reflections by young Europeans, prepared in cooperation between FutureLab and Süddeutsche Zeitung Online. To read the original click here.