//Live Blog: 2019 Finnish Election

Live Blog: 2019 Finnish Election

Julius Lehtinen, 23:50 CEST

Thanks for joining me today in live-blogging for my part. This was exceptionally fun. Hope you had an enlightening Sunday too!

Cheers for tonight.


Julius Lehtinen, 23:50 CEST

As a last thing before we call this a day, it is worthwhile looking how Europe Elects did when it comes to today’s elections. As we can see from the graph below, all provisional final seat counts were within our confidence intervals. I’d call this an election called correctly.


Julius Lehtinen, 23:50 CEST

In terms of seats, the biggest (and only, in fact) loser was again Keskusta (ALDE). All other parties either repeated their 2015 result or gained seats. Which is kind of unexpected result.

SDP (S&D) is the biggest party in terms of seats in parliament, but Perussuomalaiset (ECR) and Kokoomus (EPP) are only one behind each.


Julius Lehtinen, 23:25 CEST

And here we are. After four and a half hours everything has been counted, here are the final provisional results of Finland’s parliamentary elections.

Some takeaways, SDP (S&D) dropped much more and Perussuomalaiset (ECR) rose somewhat more than I anticipated. Vihreät (G/EFA) were an overall lackluster compred to expectations. Still, the winners of the elections are without a doubt SDP, Vihreät and Vasemmistoliitto (GUE/NGL), who all managed to increase their support compared to the 2015 elections.

Perussuomalaiset again rose to repeat for the third time their electoral success with roughly same digits as in 2015. The big loser of the election was Keskusta (ALDE), whose 13.8% was a worst result for them since 1919.

Julius Lehtinen, 23:25 CEST

The difference in comparative index is now over 300 between the Perussuomalaiset (ECR) and Kokoomus (EPP) candidates when 97.7% of Uusimaa votes have been counted. Looks like it won’t be enough to overcome the difference and PS would stay at 39 seats in total.


Jani Korhonen, 23:20 CEST

The final turnout of the elections is 72.0%. 36.6% of voters voted during early voting and 35.5% on the election Sunday itself. The early voting reached a record-high percentage, It was the first time the early voting turnout was higher than on the election day. Besides this, the 2019 elections had postal voting for Finnish citizens living abroad as a novel innovation. Yet, the turnout among Finnish citizens living abroad was merely 12.7%


Julius Lehtinen, 22:45 CEST

Looking the situation even more closely, there are four candidates racing for the same and last Uusimaa seat in question. Candidates are from Perussuomalaiset (ECR), Kokoomus (EPP), SFP (ALDE) and Liike Nyt (EFDD). All four of them are within a comparative index of 150 from each other. Only one gets the seat. Absolutely crazy. 92.8% counted.


Julius Lehtinen, 22:45 CEST

The electoral district that is going to decide this, Uusimaa, has 90% of its votes counted. Currently a candidate of Perussuomalaiset (ECR) is only behind with a comparative index difference of 50, meaning PS gaining 50 vote surplus would push the PS candidate through,

At present, SDP (S&D) has 40 seats in the parliament in total. Perussuomalaiset has 39, the one in play in Uusimaa would be number 40. Counting votes is painstakingly slow at the moment.

Jani Korhonen, 22:25 CEST

In the Lappi constituency Vihreät (G/EFA) lost to Kesk (ALDE) with a comparative index of 9,712 to 9,705, a difference of just 7, when all votes have been counted. Vihreät has never won a seat from the Lappi constituency. A standard recount of votes will take place on Monday, which might alter the result.


Julius Lehtinen, 22:00 CEST

And back at 40-39 SDP (S&D) lead we go, candidate of Perussuomalaiset (ECR) currently behind by comparative index (party votes of PS) of few hundred votes in Uusimaa district. 75% of the districts votes have been counted. Intense matchup that will likely decide who has the majority in the end.


Julius Lehtinen, 21:50 CEST

Perussuomalaiset (ECR) just bypassed Keskusta (ALDE) candidate in Uusimaa district, bringing the total number of their seats to 40 and even with SDP (S&D). Uusimaa has only counted 70% of their votes, so this will be decided there in the end.


Julius Lehtinen, 21:45 CEST

Last update before full preliminary count, Perussuomalaiset (ECR) is still edging closer to SDP (S&D) when 90% has been counted. The total seats are still 40-39 in favour of SDP.

Quite a nailbiter. Vihreät (G/EFA) and Kokoomus (EPP) also bouncing a bit back.


Julius Lehtinen, 21:35 CEST

The remaining votes will largely be from Helsinki and Uusimaa districts. Especially in Helsinki Vihreät (G/EFA) could make up for their rather lackluster performance tonight. Same goes for Kokoomus (EPP).

SDP (S&D) and Perussuomalaiset (ECR) are currently tied in Helsinki district with three seats each, SDP leads in Uusimaa 7-6.

Image: Yle

Julius Lehtinen, 21:20 CEST

With 80% of the votes counted, the final results starts to form little by little. Perussuomalaiset (ECR) has caught SDP (S&D) and is just 0.5% points behind them. Remains to be seen whether the late urban voters are enough to save SDP’s lead.

Kokoomus (EPP) has been on steady decline for the whole night, as has been Keskusta (ALDE). Current result would be the worst for Keskusta since 1919 elections.


Jani Korhonen, 20:50 CEST

In Helsinki, Vihreät (G/EFA) are taking their first victory ever of a whole electoral district, when 46 % of votes are counted. The Centre party (ALDE) looks to be without any MPs from the same Helsinki district for the first time after the 1995 elections.


Julius Lehtinen, 20:40 CEST

Perussuomalaiset (ECR) has climbed to second place with the 60% counted update. As forked below, PS has been on the rise for the whole evening, whereas SDP (S&D) has lost marginally.

Jani Korhonen, 20:30 CEST

In other small political movement news, Liike Nyt, associated with the Italian Five-Star Movement, looks to be gaining a MP in Uusimaa district. This is mostly thanks to Hjallis Harkimo’s personal support in the region, the political movement, which is not a registered party, has not been in opinion polls. Harkimo at the moment looks like the only one going through from Liike Nyt.

Liike Nyt is currently ahead of Kristillisdemokraatit (EPP), as well as Siniset (ECR) in Uusimaa:

  • NYT 3,1%
  • KD 2,9 %
  • Sin 1,9 %

Julius Lehtinen, 20:20 CEST

Earlier I talked about the potential MP of the wide electoral alliance in Helsinki. I mentioned the one going through, if a MP gets through, is going to be either from Feministinen Puolue or Piraattipuolue. Currently it looks like the main candidate of Piraattipuolue, Petrus Pennanen, is receiving significantly more votes than the main candidate of Feministinen Puolue, Katju Aro.

Pennanen seems to be on the edge of going through, just a few hundred votes behind the last candidate going through. Definitely something to watch during the evening.

Image: Iltalehti

Julius Lehtinen, 20:10 CEST

Counting progresses, at 45% the situation looks very similar to just early votes. Not much movement yet.


Julius Lehtinen, 19:40 CEST

All votes from now on are from the election day. Those posted at 19 CEST sharp were the total sum of early votes, 36.5% of the electorate, their counting started earlier during the day. As the turnout will likely reach around 70% of eligible voters in total, those were roughly half of the votes tonight.


Julius Lehtinen, 19:10 CEST

Results of early votes are done. It is worth to note a few things on how to read them:

  • Keskusta (ALDE) will likely be in a downward slope for the whole evening. Their voter base is predominantly rural, which is a group that votes early.
  • SDP (S&D) has not increased its vote share from early votes in a few election cycles. They’ll most probably stay rather stable, maybe decrease a bit.
  • PS (ECR) and Vihr (G/EFA) will continue to rise for the evening. Greens because the urban voters tend to get counted fast, PS because their voter base has a tendency to consist of a lot of late-deciders who vote on election day.

Julius Lehtinen, 18:30 CEST

One worthwhile consideration from results is that an electoral alliance consisting of Feministinen Puolue (Feminist Party), Piraattipuolue (Pirate Party), Liberaalipuolue, (Liberal party) and Eläinoikeuspuolue (Animal Rights Party) has a decent chance to gain a member in parliament from Helsinki electoral district. The elected MP would most likely be from Feministinen Puolue or Piraattipuolue, if they are to get someone through.

Europe Elects could not include such alliance in its projection straight out, as none of the parties have been included in polls published in Finland. Therefore it comes a bit off-hand, but is something to follow from results.

Other question marks are how Sininen Tulevaisuus (ECR) manages in Uusimaa district. The national polling support of the party is at 1-2%, but the party itself includes characters that perhaps have the potential to gather a larger number of votes than the national support of the party gives hints of.


Julius Lehtinen, 17:30 CEST

One and a half hours to go until the results of the early votes are published at 19:00 CEST by the Ministry of Justice

In the meantime, Europe Elects has produced a comprehensive video to outline the main nine parties and their platform. Excerpt of each individual party can be found as its own shorter video too.


Julius Lehtinen, 16:20 CEST

Then there of course already exists the speculation about the composition of the upcoming government after the elections. As a most probable candidate has been seen a composition revolving around SDP (S&D) , Kokoomus (EPP) and Vihreät (G/EFA), though replacing Kokoomus with Keskusta (ALDE) has been thrown around too. That, however, would likely require a change in current Keskusta leadership.

Perussuomalaiset (ECR) is not widely seen as a too probable candidate for government. This is mainly due to the fact that other parties have shown little interest in taking PS in, while simultaneously PS voters do not want any other party to government with them.

Perhaps the most intriguing floated possibility is to try out a minority government, which Finland has not had in decades. Such arrangements are more common in Sweden, where they ended up in a deadlock after the 2018’s elections. Such problems, however, are not too probable in Finland, mainly because of history of consesus politics.

Here’s a nice interactive tool with the predicted seats you can play around with:

The actual election results tonight, of course, play a major role in the tentative positions from which the parties advance to government negotiations. It is traditional in Finland that the leader of the biggest party leads the negotiations, exceptions to that rule have not happened in decades.


Julius Lehtinen, 14:00 CEST

The second bigger pre-story of the night that we can already see is the gains of parties left of centre. In overall, SDP (S&D), Vihreät (G/EFA) and Vasemmistoliitto (GUE/NGL) are set to gain roughly 20 seats mostly at the cost of the centre-right parties.

As a background, SDP pulled some voters from Perussuomalaiset (ECR) back in 2015 when PS was in government and accepted austerity measures on top of incoming 30 000 migrants. As SDP and Vihreät have battled over the same-ish voters since then, the total increase in centre-left support is more or less a result of the earlier movement from PS to SDP.

Gains of Vihreät (G/EFA) can be attributed to unsure and new voters to an extent: the electorate of course changes, which “naturally” gives vihreät a bump. whose supporters tend to be younger and more urban.

On top of these trends, the centre-right government formed by Keskusta (ALDE), Kokoomus (EPP) and Siniset (ECR) has been largely unpopular with its policies lately. Parties in opposition tend to increase their support, especially when more or less ideologically unififed.

Image: Databyro.fi

Julius Lehtinen, 13:20 CEST

The amount of early votes was in a four percentage point rise nationally. It remains to be seen whether the increase in early votes translates to increase in overall turnout or the turnout is going to be less on election day than usual.

Worth to note that the Ahvenanmaa district does not use electronic early voting reporting system, part of its early votes are missing. Early voter turnout is therefore most probably up everywhere.

So far the Justice Ministry has not released any turnout figures for the election day. Those might be coming later today or then not. In any case, results of early votes will be published 19:00 CEST sharp. Those have already been counted since 11:00 CEST.


Julius Lehtinen, 12:00 CEST

One of the main issues of the elections is the rise of Perussuomalaiset (ECR). They have managed to climb in polls from 8% to current 15-16% in just a few months. The reason? Harder to pin down exactly, but there are a few distinct themes in play.

First, PS has managed to put up an active and successful campaign. Both online and on ground, the crowds have been rather big and their advertising has garnered a wide (polarised) attention.

Second, PS has traditionally relied on more unsure voters in their election successess, like in 2011 and 2015 elections. Rising significantly in polls while other parties show only a rather slow downhill curve indicates that the new support might be coming from those who were still unsure of their vote.

Third, background data of recent polls indicates that some supporters of Kokoomus (EPP) and Keskusta (ALDE) have recently changed their support to PS in polls. The two mentioned centre-right parties have had some publicity troubles lately and PS has moved towards a more liberal market orientation along the years.

In overall, PS might again get a better result than anticipated in projections. This is mostly due to the fact that the support of Perussuomalaiset party has grown significantly within a few months, which again in turn means that the projections based on earlier polls might undervalue them. Remains to be seen.


Julius Lehtinen, 11:15 CEST

Here’s also the last projection percentage-wise, included are polls from last 90 days.


Julius Lehtinen, 10:45 CEST

Europe Elects’ last projection shows SDP-S&D leading the pack with Kok-EPP, PS-ECR and KESK-ALDE following in tight succession. In overall, parties left of centre seem to be making gains.


Julius Lehtinen, 08:02 CEST

For more specific and comprehensive outline of each party and their platform, Europe Elects has produced a video to summarise nine of them. Excerpt of each individual party can be found as its own shorter video too.


Julius Lehtinen, 8:01 CEST

Europe Elects will be monitoring the elections for the whole Sunday, starting from reporting turnout and ending in covering the results at night What to expect from the elections, then? We’ve covered it here in article form.


Julius Lehtinen, 8:00 CEST

Finns are heading to the polls today in parliamentary elections with 4.5 million voters. 36.5% of them has already cast their early vote—4% points up from last time. Voting booths are open 9-20 EEST, after which results of early votes will be published immediately.


Background

Previous Election – 2015

Government

KESK (ALDE)SIN (ECR)KOK (EPP)
Result21.1%18.2%
Current Seats481838

Opposition

SDP (S&D)VIHR (G/EFA)VAS (LEFT)SFP (ALDE)KD (EPP)PS (ECR)
Result 16.5%8.5%7.1%4.9%3.5%17.7%
Current Seats 35151295 17 (internal split lead to SIN-ECR)

What the polls say

Average of the latest polls from three polling firms
Voting intentions over time – 30 day moving average

Europe Elects seat projection

From the average of the latest polls from three polling firms

The 200 members of the Eduskunta are elected proportionally in 13 constituencies, with seats allocated according to the d’Hondt method

Turnout

Early voting in Finland begins the 11th day before the election and ends on the 8th. In 2015 32.5% of eligible voters voted early, with a final turnout of 70.2%.

In 2019 early turnout rose to 36.5%, increasing in all but one district.

Early Turnout

Julius Lehtinen (@Julleht) joined the Europe Elects team in 2018. He currently studies Politics & Communications at the University of Helsinki and is passionate about politics, statistics and their portrayal in media. Julius is the Head of Communications for Europe Elects on top of covering polls and election results in Finland and Sweden.