#kikkelikuva

‘Iso Jytky’ reloaded?

The results for the 2015 Finnish parliamentary elections are now preliminarily available (a vote re-recount is underway, but no changes are expected to happen). In the table below, the elections results are compared to the previous elections in 2011, and to the latest opinion polls (HS/TNS Gallup – 14 April 2015; YLE/Taloustukimus – 16 April 2015).

Party Election results (April 2011) (%) Opinion poll (HS/

TNS Gallup)

(14 April 2015) (%)

Opinion poll (YLE/

Taloustutkimus)

(16 April 2015) (%)

Election results (April 2015) (% change) Seats in Parliament (Eduskunta/ Riksdagen) (seat change)
National Coalition Party (Kok/ Kansallinen Kokoomus/ Samlingspartiet/ Saml) 20.4 17 16.9 18.2

(-2.2)

37

(-7)

Social Democratic Party of Finland (SDP/ Suomen Sosialidemokraattinen Puolue/ Finlands Socialdemokratiska Parti) 19.1 17 15.1 16.5

(-2.6)

34

(-8)

(True) Finns (Party) (PS/ Perussuomalaiset/ Sannfinländarna/ SF) 19.1 16.2 16.7 17.6

(-1.5)

38

(-1)

Cetre Party (Kesk/ Suomen Keskusta/ Centern i Finland/ C) 15.8 23 24.0 21.1

(+5.3)

49

(+14)

Left Alliance (Vas/ Vasemmistoliitto/ Vänsterförbundet/ Vf) 8.1 8.5 8.3 7.1

(-1.0)

12

(-2)

Green League (Vihr/ Vihreä liitto/ Gröna förbundet/ Grö) 7.2 8.1 8.8 8.5

(+1.3)

15

(+5)

Swedish People’s Party (SFP/ Svenska folkpartiet i Finland/ Suomen ruotsalainen kansanpuolue/ RKP) 4.3 4.6 4.6 4.9

(+0.6)

9+1

(0)

Christian Democrats (KD/ Kristillisdemokraatit/ Kristdemokraterna) 4.0 3.7 3.5 3.5

(-0.5)

5

(-1)

A few preliminary conclusions in the aftermath of the 2015 Finnish parliamentary elections:

1) The next Finnish PM will most probably be Juha Sipilä (Kesk/ C).He is a former businessman and entrepreneur and was elected party leader as late as 2012 albeit having been a MEP only since 2011. Sipilä is member of the Word of Peace (Rauhan Sana), a Christian Lutheran Laestadian group, which is known for its opposition to same-sex unions, the ordination of women priests, and opposition to abortion and euthanasia (in Finnish, tässä). It remains to be seen how these elements will be reflected in the coming political agenda.

2) The coming parliament (Eduskunta/ Riksdagen) (with a total of 200 MPs) is going to be dominated by native Finnish middle-aged men (117 MPs), whilst the number of women decreases during this parliamentary cycle (only 83 MPs) (in English, here). In addition, most party leaders are men (with only the exception of Päivi Räsänen, chairperson of the Christian conservative KD). The breakdown according to party affiliation is as follows: the Kesk/ C has only 14 women MPs out of total of 49 (thus, only 28.6% women among the party’s MPs); the PS/ SF has only 12 women MPs out of 38 (31.6%); the Kok/ Saml has 16 women MPs out of 37 (43.3%); the SDP has 21 women MPs out of 34 (61.8%), thus more than half with a good margin of the total number of MPs; the Vihr/ Grön has 7 women MPs out of 15 MPs (46.7%); the Vas/ VF has 7 women MPs out of a total of 12 MPs (58.3%); the SFP/ RKP has also regressed with only 3 women MPs out of 9 + 1 MPs (the extra is representing the Åland constituency) (30%); the KD has 3 women MPs out of a total of 5 MPs (60%). Interestingly enough, it is the progressive left (both the social-democratic SDP and the left Vas/ VF) and the Christian conservative KD that have women representing more than half of their total number of MPs. The most significant difference is to be found among the agrarian-liberal Kesk/ C with not even a third women MPs, and the populist radical right PS/SF with just below a third women MPs.

3) The populist radical right consolidates its inroads into mainstream politics. Although the party records a slight setback (-1.5%) and loses 1 MP, it is confirmed among the larger parties in Finnish politics, even becoming second largest party in the coming parliamentary cycle. So in a way, chairman Timo Soini could claim that this is a ‘iso jytky’ (in English, something like ‘a big thing/event’) of sorts.  Indeed, it seems that nostalgic agrarian-populism combined with thinly veiled xenophobia and populist homophobia is a well-received electoral concoction among Finnish voters. Two illustrative cases: Teuvo Hakkarainen, also known as the ‘apostle of genuineness’ – for his outright xenophobic and anti-LGBTQI remarks and modern reinterpretation of the infamous Madagascar plan – and the originator on Twitter of the Swedish language hashtag #snoppselfie (in English something along the lines of ‘#willieselfie’) as well as the (somewhat) tamer equivalent in Finnish #kikkelikuva (in English, something like ‘#williepic’) (I have discussed these at length in two previous blog entries, here and here) – for his unrestrained machistic courting strategies, bombing women with unsolicited pictures of his penis. Hakkarainen was reelected, and even enjoyed an increase in electoral support. The other example is Maria Tolppanen, who argued she would ‘scream with joy’ if in her constituency in Vaasa/Vasa would be ‘fewer mamu (derogatory Finnish term for migrants) and instead ‘more people (humans)’ enjoying the city square. Criticism of her barely disguised xenophobia was dismissed by usual means (a misplaced punctuation mark) (the topic was analyzed on Migrant tales, here).

4) For the first time, there are two (2) MPs of non-European migrant background. For Finnish politics this is something of a first. It may sound little, but for long Finland had only 1 MP of non-Finnish migrant background (Elisabeth Nauclér, from Sweden, representing Åland constituency), and a few of a mixed Finnish – non-Finnish background, such as Jani Toivola (Vihr/ Grön); and Ben Zyskowicz (Kok/ Saml). Now there are two MPs, Nasima Razmyar (SDP), a woman with roots in Afganistan; and Ozan Yanar (Vihr/Grö), a man with roots in Turkey (in English, here). Both of them got elected in the capital Helsinki/ Helsingfors constituency.

At the moment, a lot of speculations concern the cabinet negotiations, particularly if the PS/ SF is going to join the coming governmental formula. What kind of ‘iso jytky’ and for whom remains to be seen in the coming 4 years.

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Monday, April 20th, 2015 Research No Comments

When a #kikkelikuva Is Not a #snoppselfie and What Are the Consequences of That

There are not many MPs in today’s Finnish Parliament (Eduskunta/Riksdagen) that have been so often in the attention of the media, and even fewer have managed to galvanize more vehement reactions than the (True) Finn Teuvo Hakkarainen (PS/ Perussuomalaiset/ Sannfinländarna/ SF). Hakkarainen took the Finnish parliamentarism with storm as a result of the March 2011 elections that witnessed his election into the Eduskunta/ Riskdagen, and shortly thereafter made a name for himself for his mediatized rants against the Somali (Muslims) living in Finland, the Swedish-speaking Finnish minority, the LGBTQI-community – in short, against everyone and anyone not easily assimilated to the position of a heterosexual (true) Finnish-speaking Finn that he claimed to represent (for a brief update, see my previous blog entries here; and here). For such acts of (true) Finnish masculine bravery, Hakkarainen earned the distinction of ‘the Apostle of Genuineness‘ and swiftly dismissed any accusations of xenophobia and homophobia as mere misunderstandings of his sense of humor.

In this light, the latest incident may be understood to add a new layer to the complex masculinity performative embodied by Hakkarainen. To cut the long story short, on 13 March 2014 the entertainment magazine Seiska published a piece disclosing that Hakkarainen has been assiduously courting a woman, even sending her naked pictures of himself and close-ups of his sex organ from his work phone (in Finnish, tässä). The incident caused a lot of media attention and Hakkarainen issued a public apology. It was discussed not only in the Finnish yellow press – Ilta-sanomat (in Finnish, tässä) and Iltalehti (in Finnish, tässä); but also on the Finnish national TV network YLE (in Finnish, tässä; in Swedish, här) and the reputed Helsingin sanomat (in Finnish, tässä) and in the Swedish-speaking Finnish main newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet (in Swedish, här). On Twitter, the Swedish language hashtag #snoppselfie (in English something along the lines of ‘#willieselfie’) trended seriously, as well as the (somewhat) tamer equivalent in Finnish #kikkelikuva (in English, something like ‘#williepic’).

The chair of PS/SF parliamentary group Jari Lindström refused to comment on the event, indicating Hakkarainen‘s public statement concerning the incident. Indeed, Hakkarainen blamed the whole affair on his alcohol abuse and claimed it was part of a failed attempt to extortion. Even more so, according to a PS/SF fellow MPMika Niikko, Hakkarainen did not take the picture himself, but was in fact the victim of a ‘prank’ set up by ‘a friend’ (in Ilta-sanomat, in Finnish, tässä).

In other words, does the whole issue boil down to a (male) Finnish MP’s misfortune to find reliable friends, combined with his inability to deal with alcohol abuse? Does this indicate a toxic manifestation of masculinity widely spread within Finnish society that regards alcohol abuse as an inherent part of being a (Finnish) man? But do these alone justify the harassment that the woman in question was subject to (sending sexually explicit pictures surely do qualify as such) – an aspect not so much picked up on by the media? What if putting this incident in the wider context of significant level of violence against women (both physical and sexual but also psychological) in Finland (Helsinki Times news report, in English here; the FRA report , in English here)? Hakkarainen has gained his reputation of ‘Apostle of Genuineness‘ for his remarks that can be easily considered a manifestation of outright xenophobia, but also a sign of a populist homophobia; does his ‘genuineness’ include sexism as well in this context? Having in mind the coming EU elections later this spring, and despite the fact that the chair of the PS/SF parliamentary group does not consider this issue serious enough to address, do the Finnish voters have a right to know where does the PS/SF position itself on such issues? So far, Hakkarainen‘s previous remarks have been explained through references to his particular sense of humor and his famed ‘genuineness’. At the moment it appears his harassment of women is allegedly blamed on his entourage and alcohol abuse, so the question that comes forward is what and when would be considered to be the entire responsibility of the PS/SF MP Hakkarainen, and when would the PS/SF assume its responsibility in front of its electors for having such a representative in the Finnish Eduskunta/ Riksdagen?

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Sunday, March 16th, 2014 Research No Comments