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Greens make historic leap forward in Finland's local elections

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A major increase in the support of the Green Party and a steep decline for the populist Finns Party were the main results confirmed yesterday from the ballots that were counted in Finnish local council elections held on 9 April. The Greens became the second largest party in the western city of Turku and rose from position five to the largest one in Jyyäskylä, a university town in central Finland, and in Nokia.

Green Party leader Ville Niinistö said this represents "a spring of hope." "You can trust us, we are as good as our word," he added when he arrived at the party's victory party at Helsinki's Tavastia Club.

"Finns are fed up of politicians saying that you have to sacrifice," Niinistö told the crowd. He later explained that the result shows that voters were ready for more “humane reforms” that focused on investment in green technologies and education as an alternative to austerity measures. Finns Party leader Timo Soini acknowledged defeat in his speech. The Green Party attained 12.8 percent, which is an increase by over four percent from the local elections in 2012. The eurosceptic Finns Party got 8.8 percent, which is a decline by 3.5 percent. The Left League got 8.9 percent, with a slight increase from 2012.

Voter turnout was 58.9 percent.

The Finnish Green Party was founded on 28 February 1987 and formally registered as a political party the following year. Nevertheless, the political movement had already begun campaigning in the early 1980s when environmental activists, feminists and other active groups started raising their voice on Green issues in Finland.

In 1995, the Greens in Finland were the first Green Party in Europe to be part of a national Cabinet.

The first two parliamentary representatives were elected even before the party was registered, in the elections of 1983, which were the first independent representatives in the Parliament of Finland. In 1987 the number of seats rose to four, and in 1991 to 10.

At the local level, Greens have an important position especially in the largest cities of Finland. In the local elections of 2012, the Greens had 8.5 percent of the vote. In the capital Helsinki, the Greens became the 2nd largest party with 23.5 percent of the vote. In several other cities, the Greens achieved the position of the 3rd largest party.

A major increase in the support of the Green Party and a steep decline for the populist Finns Party were the main results confirmed yesterday from the ballots that were counted in Finnish local council elections held on 9 April. Photo: Vihreät - De Gröna

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