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  The Great Nordic Thread (search mode)
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Question: Will Iceland and Norway ever join the EU?
#1Iceland, but not Norway  
#2Norway, but not Iceland  
#3Both  
#4None of them  
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Total Voters: 153

Author Topic: The Great Nordic Thread  (Read 154071 times)
Helsinkian
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« on: March 05, 2015, 10:26:08 am »

Has the Progress Party been able to push for any significant changes in the laws related to immigration?
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2015, 11:30:43 am »
« Edited: July 18, 2015, 11:32:28 am by Helsinkian »

In Finland we introduced this thing called citizens' initiative a couple of years ago. If 50,000 adult citizens sign an initiative within a period of six months, the parliament has to take it into consideration and debate it. The law doesn't obligate the parliament to vote on its approval/rejection, but all initiatives thus far have been voted on in the parliament.

The only citizens' initiative that the parliament has actually approved after a vote was the initiative on same sex-marriage, which was passed last year. Interestingly, another initiative that calls for marriage to be defined as a union between a man and a woman has now gathered the required 50,000 signatures, so the parliament has to take the issue up again.

Another initiative that has been gathering steam is an initiative calling for a referendum on Finland's membership in the Eurozone; in only three days it has gathered 40% of the signatures needed.
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2015, 02:59:00 pm »

Another initiative that has been gathering steam is an initiative calling for a referendum on Finland's membership in the Eurozone; in only three days it has gathered 40% of the signatures needed.

What happened to the Initiative about getting rid of mandatory Swedish? Voted down, or not taken up yet?

It was voted on in March in the last days of the previous parliament. It was defeated 134-48.
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2015, 04:04:23 pm »

Another initiative that has been gathering steam is an initiative calling for a referendum on Finland's membership in the Eurozone; in only three days it has gathered 40% of the signatures needed.

What happened to the Initiative about getting rid of mandatory Swedish? Voted down, or not taken up yet?

It was voted on in March in the last days of the previous parliament. It was defeated 134-48.

I suppose TF was for and all other parties against?

Yes, though there were some individual MPs in the other parties who voted in favour of the initiative.
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2015, 12:51:27 pm »
« Edited: July 27, 2015, 12:54:50 pm by Helsinkian »

In recent days in Finnish politics there has been a big controversy over the Facebook posts of the Finns Party MP Olli Immonen:




YLE: Finnish MP calls for fight against "nightmare of multiculturalism"
Politico: Finnish politician declares war on ‘multiculturalism’

Critics of him in the opposition parties have demanded that the Finns Party expel him, and among the Finns Party's government partners Prime Minister Sipilä and Finance Minister Stubb have also condemned his views.

There have been critics within the Finns Party as well, even though the party's official platform states that Finland should "renounce the idea that multiculturalism is necessary or desirable". These critics within the party have taken issue with Immonen's "warlike" rhetoric.
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2015, 08:32:17 am »
« Edited: August 06, 2015, 09:42:53 am by Helsinkian »

In Finland, the Greens are fast catching up with the Social Democrats. In the April election SDP was at 16.5, now they're at 14.5; the Greens got 8.5 in the election, and now they're polling 12.7. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Greens' support surpass that of SDP during this parliamentary term.



Edit: replaced the Finnish language picture with an English language picture.
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2015, 12:37:56 pm »

Have Norway recommended the Svalbard Islands?

Jan Mayen would be good location as well.
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2015, 05:50:15 pm »
« Edited: October 08, 2015, 05:52:52 pm by Helsinkian »


I can think of a couple MPs who might leave but in general the PS MPs are very afraid of standing up to chairman Soini. If a new party to the right of PS were founded, I don't think it would attract more than 3-4 MPs.
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2015, 06:48:46 pm »

I can think of a couple MPs who might leave but in general the PS MPs are very afraid of standing up to chairman Soini. If a new party to the right of PS were founded, I don't think it would attract more than 3-4 MPs.
You mean by "attract" 3 or 4 PS MPs, or you mean they would only win a few seats in the next election? The first case I could understand, but if it's the second case, could you elaborate on that?

I meant that 3-4 MPs from the current parliamentary group might switch to it.
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2015, 09:14:50 pm »
« Edited: October 08, 2015, 09:51:48 pm by Helsinkian »

Finland has a party to the right of PS, the Blue and White Front. Perhaps they could gain voters from PS.

They're not a real thing anymore. They didn't participate in the the last election, their leader endorsed a National Coalition Party candidate (lol).

On euroscepticism, there is the more radical Independence Party which is mostly a one-issue party calling for Finland to leave the EU (they got 0.5 percent in the last election). To this date, they have not presented themselves, however,  as immigration critics, focusing instead purely on the question of EU (their manifesto was pretty leftist on some issues).

To the Finnish posters: how likely is it that Soini will do a Wilders and make the coalition collapse if PS continues to poll very, very badly? I see that there have seldom been snap elections in Finland. If PS steps out, would that lead to new elections or would KESK and KOK include another party/other parties without new elections?

I'd say it's very unlikely that Soini himself would want to leave the coalition at any point. If the party were to leave, then it would probably be because of the rest of the party pressuring him to do it, if the immigration situation and other things continue to escalate and the poll numbers continue to drop.

If PS were to leave, Kesk and Kok would probably first try to get the Swedish People's Party and the Christian Democrats to join. They would probably accept, seeing that their opposition politics has been less confrontational than that of the leftist parties. The majority would be slim though, 101 (Finnish coalitions rarely operate on such slim majorities, though Stubb's coalition did it for the latter part of its term). Getting the Greens into some combination would be another option but that would require Kesk to make some compromises on environment issues.
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2015, 09:37:02 pm »

I think people would probably accept a reshuffle. The last snap election was in 1975, so people are used to having parliaments sit full terms.
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2015, 06:11:56 am »
« Edited: October 09, 2015, 06:28:33 am by Helsinkian »

I also agree as far as the Progress Party goes, they are a different thing compared to SD. But what is PS except stricter immigration, anti-EU, and anti mandatory Swedish in Finnish schools? Besides the mandatory Swedish thing, those are the exact same pillars as SD stands on. I doubt that there is anyone who really votes for Soini except for those issues. And I'm aware that PS casts itself as the defenders of the welfare state and the working man and what not., but so does SD. That's (as you noted) hardly the reason their voters vote for them.

There are actually plenty of people who voted for PS because of welfare issues and rural issues. Take for example, the party's strongest municipality, Kihniö, where the party got 53 percent in 2011 and 48 percent in 2015. Almost all of that is support for a former Rural Party (Finns Party's predecessor) politician Lea Mäkipää who was elected Finns Party MP in 2011 and who hardly even speaks about immigration but rather about welfare issues and services in the rural ares. Furthermore, in the Kihniö council the local Finns Party group actually supported establishing a refugee accomodation centre in the municipality (even if they qualified it by saying that they wanted to choose what kind of refugees are coming).

Another example is Rene Hursti, a councilman in Helsinki. While he does talk of immigration as well, his primary reason for fame is his and his family's involvement in organising the city's soup kitchens. He quit the party in September, citing the government's cuts in welfare as the reason.

Also consider the fact that the party's communication director is a former Social Democrat who spent nearly  four decades in various leading positions in the trade unions. When he defected to the Finns Party in 2010 he said that the biggest reason for that was SDP's embracement of Green values which he saw as threatening traditional industry jobs.
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2015, 07:02:19 am »
« Edited: October 09, 2015, 07:04:20 am by Helsinkian »

Wasn't there a dissident PS MP last parliament who joined a tiny party called "Change" or something? Is that party moribund?

Yes, James Hirvisaari was expelled from the party in 2013 after he invited a neo-nazi acquaintance of him to the parliament and photographed said person performing the Hitler salute inside the parliament. He then joined Change 2011 (founded with the 2011 election in mind, they haven't changed their name), a micro party with two issues: restricting immigration and advocating direct democracy with binding referendums.

When the party failed to get a single MP elected in 2015, they were removed from the party register (this happens automatically when a party fails to get anyone elected to the parliament in two consecutive elections). They are now gathering the 5,000 signatures needed to regain the status of a registered party. Hirvisaari is not the only former PS-member in Change 2011, but I still don't think it'll amount to anything meaningful.
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2015, 11:45:17 am »

If it were rural issues they might as well vote for the Centre Party, and if it were welfare there are two left-wing parties.

Using this logic we might also presume that all religious Christians vote for the Christian Democrats. But that is not the case. In fact, the Conservative Laestadians (the most fundamentalist Lutheran revival movement; doctrine includes, for example, banning birth control and television watching as sinful) overwhelmingly vote for the Centre Party.
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2015, 12:59:30 pm »

We could also note the fact that while Timo Soini himself has wanted to maintain good relations with the Danish People's Party (they are in the same group in the European Parliament and in the Nordic Council, and DF representatives have spoken at PS Party congress), he has not been especially sympathetic toward the Sweden Democrats. This article is from April 2014, prior to the European Parliament election (translation by me):

"Co-operation with Sweden's eurosceptic Sweden Democrats party in the European Parliament does not suit Soini. The Finns Party chairman says that the parties' ideologies and objectives do not match. Staying in the same group with the Danish People's Party, on the other hand, is important in the future as well."
http://www.kaleva.fi/uutiset/kotimaa/soinille-ei-sovi-yhteistyo-ruotsidemokraattien-kanssa/661440/

There are, of course, other Finns Party politicians who are more sympathetic toward SD.
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2015, 01:16:35 pm »
« Edited: October 10, 2015, 01:23:32 pm by Helsinkian »

Well, PS' lukewarm relation with SD obviously seems influenced by PS' position on issues regarding the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland.

I wouldn't say it's related to that. Soini himself is more moderate on the issue than some of the others in the party (he only wants to remove mandatory Swedish teaching in Finnish speaking schools, whereas some other PS politicians want to remove Swedish as an official language alltogether).

His aversion to SD has more to do with the fact that he has wanted to shake off the image of PS as a radical party and he knew that if PS and SD were co-operating, say, in the European Parliament, Finnish tabloids would use SD's radical image to attack PS.
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2015, 06:08:22 am »
« Edited: November 01, 2015, 06:20:44 am by Helsinkian »

There has been plenty of controversy within the Finns Party in the recent days. A few weeks ago Sebastian Tynkkynen, the chairman of the Finns Party's youth organisation who was also elected one of the party's deputy chairmen in the August party congress, demanded that the party should consider leaving the government coalition. He cited the government's failures in handling the asylum seeker crisis as well the Euro crisis as the reasons.

His view was in the minority when the party's governing board delibarated the issue. However, chairman Timo Soini was not content at leaving the issue there. Earlier this week the party's governing board made the decision to expel Tynkkynen from the party (they did this conveniently when Tynkkynen was out of the country and thus unable to defend himself). Legal experts noted that the expulsion might have been illegal, since the governing board does not have the power to expel a deputy chairman elected by the party congress. Soini responded to this by saying that though they had expelled Tynkkynen from the party's membership, he continues to be the party's deputy chairman. But that is in violation with the party's own rules which state that the members of the governing board (deputy chairmen are included in it) must be members of the party...

Today the Finns Party's youth organisation defied Soini by re-electing Tynkkynen as the youth wing's chairman in their annual conference (members of the youth wing don't have to be members of the party proper). And so we are in the absurd situation where a person, who has been expelled from the party, nevertheless continues to be the party's deputy chairman and youth leader who is entitled to participate in the meetings of the party's governing board and the parliamentary group.

This certainly reinforces the idea that Soini can not stomach any criticism of his leadership within the party.
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2015, 10:32:46 am »
« Edited: November 04, 2015, 10:37:41 am by Helsinkian »

This is what happens when you campaign on tightening immigration and EU policy and standing up for the Finnish workers, and then in your first six months in government you oversee a tenfold increase in asylum seekers compared to the last year as well as further bailouts for Greece, combined with cuts to unemployment benefits.

If you lose over 40 percent of your support in six months, in almost any other party that would lead to massive criticism of the party's leader and calls for his resignation. Not in the Finns Party, though. If anything, Soini is now more willing to kick his critics out of the party, as evidenced by case Tynkkynen (see my previous message).
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2015, 03:17:03 pm »
« Edited: November 06, 2015, 07:07:11 pm by Helsinkian »

I doubt the government collapses because of this. This seems more like Sipilä playing hard negotiation tactics. He already gave one ultimatum, threatening to ask the president to dissolve the government if a solution were not found by Friday morning. But when that deadline passed he simply set a new deadline...

That said, Sipilä has said that if NCP were to kicked out, he would try to form a new coalition without going to a new election (according to the newest Yle/Taloustutkimus poll, SDP is very close to Center). In practice that would mean a coalition consisting of Centre, Finns Party, Swedish People's Party and the Christian Democrats. But they would have a very slim majority, and a couple of Finns Party MPs going their own way would bring it down.

You may ask, wouldn't the Finns Party have problems working with the Swedish People's Party. Considering that Timo Soini has given up almost all of his other principles already, I doubt renouncing one more principle would be an obstacle for him.

Edit: as I predicted, the parties reached a solution. It's pretty much what Centre wanted: 18 regions. The weird thing, though, is that there will still be only 15 regions that handle all the healthcare aspects, so some regions are forced to co-operate.
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2015, 08:36:11 am »
« Edited: December 30, 2015, 09:26:41 am by Helsinkian »

In Finland, the Social Democrats, in opposition, take the lead in the monthly Yle/Taloustutkimus poll for the first time since 2008.

The numbers of the Finns Party are still miserable, but apparently they have reached their floor now.


http://yle.fi/uutiset/bad_news_for_the_government__new_poll_shows_sdp_on_top/8561609
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2016, 12:32:35 pm »

Finland gained a new political party this week, as the National Whiskey Party was added to the party register after gathering the necessary 5,000 signatures.

The Whiskey Party originally profiled itself as an opponent of restrictive alcohol policies. Specifically it was inspired by a case in 2014, when the state officials prohibited a whiskey expo from using the word "whiskey" in its name, because Finnish law does not allow the advertisement of hard alcohol in public.

However, right after succeeding in getting registered status, the Whiskey Party is considering changing its name, admitting that "the name is a deliberate marketing gimmick". The party says that it "opposes all unnecessary regulation, bureaucracy and state nannying", and that "Liberal Party" is one possibility for a new name.

http://yle.fi/uutiset/whiskey_party_gathers_needed_signatures_whiskey_was_offered/8753786
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #21 on: May 11, 2016, 03:44:55 am »

Alexander Stubb, Finland's Finance Minister and leader of the National Coalition Party, will face two challengers in next June's party convention: Petteri Orpo, Minister of the Interior, and Elina Lepomäki, MP. Orpo is not only seen as having a realistic chance of beating Stubb but he is becoming the favourite to win, as he has racked up endorsements and leads Stubb in an opinion poll conducted among the party's members.

NCP members feel that the party's policies are not sufficiently represented in the current coalition's actions, and they are also unhappy at Stubb's inability to grow the party's support. One could note, though, that the members of the Finns Party have more reason to complain on both counts, yet no one is trying to oust Timo Soini.
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #22 on: June 06, 2016, 05:24:39 am »
« Edited: June 06, 2016, 05:28:54 am by Helsinkian »

Finland's Left Alliance has elected Li Andersson as their new chair. The outgoing chair, Paavo Arhinmäki, did not seek re-election. Andersson, a first term MP, is young for a party leader, only 29. Under her, the Left Alliance will continue to profile itself as a "red-green" party.
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2016, 11:23:32 am »

Alexander Stubb, Finland's Finance Minister and leader of the National Coalition Party, will face two challengers in next June's party convention: Petteri Orpo, Minister of the Interior, and Elina Lepomäki, MP. Orpo is not only seen as having a realistic chance of beating Stubb but he is becoming the favourite to win, as he has racked up endorsements and leads Stubb in an opinion poll conducted among the party's members.

NCP members feel that the party's policies are not sufficiently represented in the current coalition's actions, and they are also unhappy at Stubb's inability to grow the party's support. One could note, though, that the members of the Finns Party have more reason to complain on both counts, yet no one is trying to oust Timo Soini.

In the convention vote today Petteri Orpo was elected the NCP chairman with 55 percent to Stubb's 45 percent on the second round. On the first round the results were Orpo 49, Stubb 36, Lepomäki 15
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Helsinkian
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« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2016, 02:59:55 pm »

Not clear yet. Orpo will become the Finance Minister but he'll probably allow Stubb to take one of the three other ministerial portfolios the NCP has if that's what Stubb wants.
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