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Finnish elections

Populist party scores big in Finnish election

Publicerat måndag 18 april 2011 kl 10.37
True Finns' Tomi Soini celebrates over party's success in election. Foto: Martti Kainulainen/Scanpix.

A populist party has won 19 percent of the votes in Finland's national elections that took place Sunday.

The True Finns, an anti-immigrant party that is critical both of the EU and requirements that force Finns to study Swedish in school, received 15 percent more votes than in the 2007 election.

They are now only a few percentage points from being the biggest party in Finland.

Reaction in Sweden varied.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt wrote on his Twitter account that there was reason to worry. "We want a Finland that is Nordic and European," he wrote.

The leader of the Social Democrats in Sweden, Håkan Juholt, shared those same sentiments.

"The True Finns exploit people's worry about the future," he told Swedish Radio News. "They are a party that is built on pitting people against each other, and worry and fear for the future drives their politic. It's very worrying that these types of political movements are growing on a global level."

Meanwhile, Jimmy Åkesson, the leader of the Sweden Democrats, expressed joy. As he described in a written commentary, he was glad that the critique against mass immigration and European super nationalism has received broad support. "My hope is that it has an impact on debate in Sweden," he wrote.

Every political party except the True Finns received less support. The right-leaning National Coalition received 20.4 percent of the votes, while the Social Democrats followed close behind with 19.1 percent.

The current Finnish government consists of the Center Party, the National Coalition, The Greens, and the Swedish People's Party.

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