Monday, March 19, 2007

Yesterday´s winners and losers

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Finland voted yesterday for a new parliament. The results came as a surprise for most people. Even the country´s leading political commentator admits in his blog that he could not see this coming.

So what happened:
- Centre Party survived as the biggest party and will continue as the leader of the cabinet
- Coalition Party (liberal right) won 10 seats and made its way to the second biggest party only one seat away from Centre Party. The former leader of the party and former Minister of Finance got 60 498 votes which was 10 % of his party´s votes.
- Social Democrats lost 8 seats with the worst elections result in 40 years

The big loser of the day was Finnish democracy. Only less than 69 % of the people used their right to vote. This indicates the major challenge of the future and shows the failure of the government programme on citizenship. The policy of supporting think tanks linked to parties has not really benefited an active civil society. The other major mistake was putting the focus on the 100th anniversary of parliamentarism (year 2006) into celebrating the Parliament. My dear decision-makers, celebrating equal voting rights should not be about the ones elected through the procedure nor the institution, it should be about the people with the power.

But the biggest winner is the gender equality. 84 women out of 200 is a magnificent result and a record-breaking level in Finnish history. But even with this result I tend to support the approach that voting a woman is still a worthy political move.

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