Finland’s populists stagnate as liberals use presidential poll to highlight global urgencies

Finland’s liberals have utilised the northern European country’s presidential election to put geo-political issues high up the agenda in a European Union country neighbouring Russia.

All political parties, including LI full members Keskusta and the Swedish People’s Party (SFP), faced a tough electoral battle to unseat the incumbent president, Sauli Niinistö, who won in the first round with 63% of the vote, standing this time as a formally non-aligned candidate. Sharing her insight into the ballot, LI vice-president Astrid Thors (SFP) said: “Keskusta’s candidate, the former prime minister, Matti Vanhanen demonstrated that he was very well prepared for the job, had nuanced positions and pointed to the need to debate more global issues, not only those in the immediate neighbourhood.”

At a time of heightened tension between the European Union and Russia, SFP’s candidate Nils Torvalds MEP courageously sought to start a serious debate  of the question of NATO – the military alliance between the United States and much of Europe. “The president is responsible for foreign and defence policy and Nils Torvalds was very clear in his views on NATO and future challenges, but alas he was not rewarded for his brave positions.”

As the tide of populism across Europe ebbs and flows the Finnish brand of illiberal politics, embodied by the True Finns, stagnated. “The populist and nationalist candidates collectively received around 13% much less than at the previous parliamentary elections, added the LI vice-president. Meanwhile the socialist parties recorded some of their worst electoral performances.

Dr Steffi Kirsper MP: Fighting the burka ban in Austria
Populist politicians around the world will go a long way to win votes. To the anguish of liberals, even politicians across the European Union have endorsed legislation that exploits, rather than assuages, the collective anxieties of voters - anxieties they have been recklessly nourished in the blinkered pursuit of power.
Freedom of Belief
Vlado Mirosevic MP: The Liberal project and freedom of religion in Chile
Being liberal entails a commitment to the right of each and every person to develop their life project in such a way that it allows them to achieve the greatest possible personal fulfillment, as long as in doing so one does not harm others. In contemporary Chilean society the conservative tradition is still very powerful and influential so putting our credo in to practice remains difficult – but Partido Liberal de Chile is up for that fight!
Freedom of Belief
LI joins forces with NDI at UNCSW to stamp out violence against women in politics
Teaming up with Madeleine Albright's National Democratic Institute (NDI - LI cooperating organisation), LI has NDI marked the two-year anniversary of the #NotTheCost campaign to end violence against women in politics, at a side-event on the fringes of the 62nd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) in New York, raising the profile of this global cause.