German election results prove "sigh of relief" after Dutch, French elections premature: Finnish researcher

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-26 05:51:16|Editor: yan
Video PlayerClose

HELSINKI, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- The German election results have justified the view held by many researchers last spring that the setback of populist parties in the Dutch and French elections were only a temporary halt.

Juha Jokela, the Program Director of the Finnish Institute for International Affairs, said on Monday that many researchers cautioned against the "sighs of relief" heard in Europe last spring.

Jokela told national broadcaster Yle that the underlying reasons for populism still exist in Europe. They are dissatisfaction with the agenda of traditional major parties and the the outreach of those parties towards the people.

On the Finnish political scene, only the remaining Finns Party openly sympathizes with the Alternative for Germany (AfD). Finns Party chairman Jussi Halla-aho said on Monday the current Finns Party and the current AfD are close to each other on many issues.

Finnish conservative party leader Petter Orpo said dissatisfaction has created new political forces. Orpo said on Monday the situation needs extremely serious attention.

The German situation after the election success of the AfD is being watched in Finland and the rest of the Nordic area.

There has been no uniform Nordic way of confronting modern populism. In Sweden, an attempt continues to exclude the populist from the government level, while in Finland and Norway they have reached government, but with divergent results.

In Finland, the populist Finns Party grew so large in opposition with the 2011 and 2015 election victories, that they were included in the coalition in May 2015. Following many compromises in the coalition, the backing of the Finns Party collapsed and this summer the party broke up and a secessionist group remained in the government.

The "Blue Future" that continues in the government talks about immigration in a much more subdued way than the remaining Finns Party.

In Sweden, the rest of the political scene has tried to isolate the Swedish Democrats as they consider the party's historic ties with right wing extremism problematic. But in a recent poll in Sweden, the populists already reached the position of the country's second largest party. The party has tried to sound more moderate and would like to start cooperating with the mainstream conservatives in Sweden.

In Norway, the right wing populist Progressive Party was in the government, but averted a major loss of popularity. In the recent election its support declined only one percentage point.

Minttu Mikkonen, an international affairs writer for Yle, said that there is no generally applicable solution. She said on Monday that the early reactions of the rest of the German political scene towards the AfD indicate Germany would be opting the Swedish approach of isolation.

In the German election on Sunday, the far-right party AfD unexpectedly made a historical breakthrough with 13.5 percent of votes, and became the third strongest party in the Bundestag (German parliament).