Finland. The first round of the presidential election in January was won as expected by the Candidate Party candidate, former finance minister and President Sauli Niinistö. Of the voters, 37% cast their vote on Niinistö. On the other hand, it was a surprise that Green League candidate Pekka Haavisto managed to take second place with 18.8%. That meant a great disappointment for the Center’s veteran politician Paavo Väyrynen, who had expected to challenge Niinistö in a second round of elections. Väyrynen came in third place, followed by Social Democrats leader Paavo Lipponen and True Finns leader Timo Soini.
The decisive round in February was a clear victory for Niinistö, who got close to 63% of the vote against just over 37% for Haavisto. It was the first time in more than three decades that a non-social Democrat became president and the first time in over half a century that a candidate from the Conservative party won the presidential election.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Provides most commonly used acronyms and abbreviations for Finland. Also includes location map, major cities, and country overview.
Finland’s gun laws had been tightened several times in recent years, including 2011 with an increased age limit for weapons permits to 18 years and for small arms to 20 years, but that could not prevent a new bloody shooting drama. In May, two people were killed and seven injured when an 18-year-old boy opened fire in Hyvinge in Uusimaa. Like after the school shootings in Jokela 2007 and Kauhajoki 2008, there was a new debate about the gun laws.
Amnesty International criticized Finland’s handling of asylum applications during the year. According to Amnesty, the asylum process has become so rapid that it threatens legal certainty. Finland was also criticized for total refusal to serve military service and civilian service.
The Finnish industry’s flagship, the telecom company Nokia, had a black year in 2012 after almost 13 years as a world leader in the mobile market. Sales, profitability and share price collapsed when the company did not participate in the global competition for smart phones. Several thousand employees were forced to leave, many of them in Finland. There was speculation that Nokia would relocate its headquarters from Finland, which was dismissed by management.
However, Finland’s state finances went well. In July, the credit rating agency Moody’s found that Finland was the only euro area with the highest possible credit rating. At the same time, after a tough political debate, the Riksdag said yes to the eurozone crisis loans to Spain, however, on the condition that collateral be provided for some of the loans.
The Assembly Party became the largest party nationally in the municipal elections in October, with the Social Democrats in second place and the Center in third. The true Finns increased significantly in relation to the previous municipal elections but had far to the result of the 2011 parliamentary elections.
In November, a serious leakage of heavy metals occurred at the Talvivaara mine in eastern Finland, where uranium is mined. The plant and animal life of Lake Kivijärvi was threatened by uranium-rich wastewater and large amounts of nickel that ran into the water system. A criminal investigation was initiated, and Environment Minister Ville Niinistö was very critical to the mining company’s actions.
Social Democracy and Agrarian Party in the 50’s
The JRC had become an important factor in Finnish politics and had also achieved a substantial leveling off in favor of the low-paid. Yet, the JRC failed to defend what the organization had achieved. The weakness of the JRC’s position came to the fore most dramatically when, in 1956, it became necessary to resort to a general strike. This struggle, led by the Social Democrats, was probably formally won by the workers, but it was largely a defeat as the JRC’s wage demands were abolished by deterioration in other areas – first and foremost in price policy. This contributed to the fragmentation of both the JRC and the Finnish Social Democrats, and to the fact that the entire labor movement in the early 1960’s played a very small independent role in society.
It had been the “revenue policy” issues that had led from the outset to the greatest practical difficulties for the “three big” government coalition. It also emerged that the Social Democrats had changed from being a party for small people in the countryside to representing urban workers and their consumption needs. The share of industrial workers increased among the supporters of the party, which was closely related to the changed position of the trade union movement. After the isolation of the communists, government policy until the late 1950’s became an even more limited conflict of interest between the representatives of industrial workers and peasants.
The right-wing turn of politics after 1948 had been carried out by a Social Democratic minority government. In a situation characterized by, among other things, The Berlin blockade and the establishment of NATO had led to a crisis in the Finnish-Soviet relations. It was these difficulties in the social democrats’ foreign policy that produced the second architect of the new foreign policy, UK Kekkonen, who was the head of the Agrarian Confederation. It was Kekkonen’s realization that it was necessary to take into account the policies of the Soviet Union that were now breaking through in the party.
For the Agrarian Confederation, foreign policy was first and foremost a remedy against the social democrats in domestic politics. This made it even more difficult for the SDP to resolve the dilemma of uniting the almost hostile relationship with Finnish Communists with the need for confidential relations with the Soviet Union. The inability to solve this dilemma was one reason why social democracy entered a dead end in the early 1960’s. The second reason was that, together with the political right, it sought to break the dominant position of agricultural interests in social policy.
The common social interests of the Social Democrats and industrial organizations were expressed in the autumn of 1958 in the formation of a government in which the SDP and the Party of Ministers had the majority, but in which the Agricultural Association also participated. Government formation took place after a significant right turn in domestic politics after the general strike, and after the remnants of post-war economic regulation policy were eliminated. The new situation also appeared in foreign policy. Especially when the Geneva spirit led the Soviet Union to return the Porkkala base at Helsinki in 1955. It had been rented in 1944.
Finland became a member of both the UN and the Nordic Council in 1955, and imports from the West were released – this entailed an influx of e.g. “Western” consumer goods. Foreign policy orientation towards the West was reinforced as trade with the West increased. The Finnish wood processing industry would have guarantees of its export opportunities to the new free trade area. To achieve this, it had to be convinced that the Soviet Union would not break Finnish foreign policy. This was important, not least when considering the development of Finnish opinion and the tensions in international conditions, but the government did not realize this. The result was a crisis of confidence between Finland and the Soviet Union (the “night frost”), which was only resolved when the Agrarian Party formed government.
According to countryaah, the population of Finland in 2012 was 5,481,011, ranking number 116 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.430% yearly, and the population density was 18.0365 people per km2.