There is indeed reason to celebrate the result of the liberal parties in our recent Parliamentary Elections. The two ALDE parties made significant gains. For us, the Swedish People’s Party, the election was the best in 24 years, and The Center Party (Keskusta) became the biggest party in Finland, and was given the task to start forming the new government.
In fact, only three parties made gains in these elections – us, The Swedish People’s Party, The Center Party (keskusta) and the Greens. The biggest losers were the Social Democrats, the Conservatives and the Finns party. The Finns party lost support even though they were in opposition, but somehow they managed to spin the result in a way that made them look like a winner. Or maybe the expectations just were so low, which isn’t at all surprising given their performance and substance in the past years.
In light of this, it did seem a bit odd that that the center party, Keskusta, our liberal allies here, and a party we thought we were the closest to in Finnish politics, invited two of the three biggest losers to start the discussions on forming the next government. Even more odd was that they invited the xenophobic populists to the chambers of power, while shutting out their liberal allies. There are other ways to reach a parliamentary majority, You can do it in Finland too without giving xenophobic, anti-EU bullies power to decide our future.
I think we are playing a dangerous game when we put aside ideals and goals, just to weaken an opposing force. When we choose to focus on the politics of power, instead of focusing on the politics of ideals, and goals. Time will tell how this game, or rather gamble, turns out.
So while there is reason to celebrate the electoral gains of the two ALDE parties in Finland, and while Finland will have a prime minister from an ALDE party now again, I see little reason to celebrate the way this new liberal-led government is acting so far. And I think it is reason for us all to remind ourselves that liberal is not an empty word, it comes with meanings, and obligations.
Liberal should mean just that, liberal.