Left Alliance (Finland)

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Left Alliance
Chairman Paavo Arhinmäki
Secretary Marko Varajärvi
Founded 1990
Preceded by Finnish People's Democratic League (SKDL)
Headquarters Viherniemenkatu 5 A
Newspaper Kansan Uutiset
Youth wing Left Youth
Women's wing Left Women
Children's wing Democratic Union of Finnish Pioneers
Membership  (2011) 10,500[1]
Ideology Democratic socialism[2][3]
Political position Left-wing
European affiliation Party of the European Left[4]
Nordic Green Left Alliance
International affiliation None
European Parliament group European United Left–Nordic Green Left
Colours Red, Green
12 / 200
European Parliament
1 / 13
640 / 9,674
Politics of Finland
Political parties

The Left Alliance (Finnish: Vasemmistoliitto, Swedish: Vänsterförbundet, VAS) is a left-wing political party in Finland.[5]

Founded in 1990, largely as a successor of the Finnish People's Democratic League (SKDL), it has received quite some electoral success, receiving shares of votes of around ten percent in parliamentary elections. The party is a member of the Party of the European Left and Nordic Green Left Alliance. The party organ is the weekly Kansan Uutiset.


The party was founded by the Finnish People's Democratic League (SKDL), the majority of members of the waning Communist Party of Finland (SKP) and the Finnish Women's Democratic League (SNDL). It was later joined by the communist Democratic Alternative. The founding meeting was held in April 1990 in Helsinki, following the publishing of the April Declaration, which emphasised various ideals.

The party's short history has been characterised by internal disputes and bickering, as it was formed by people with very different views on society. There have been several defections from the Left Alliance to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the newly formed Communist Party of Finland. In 2005, the party's former secretary and Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions's assistant head Matti Viialainen formed a society to promote merger between the two largest Finnish left-wing political parties, the Left Alliance and the SDP. This caused an outrage within the Left Alliance, and Viialainen was condemned for wanting to break up the party. Viialainen would subsequently leave the party and run for parliament on the SDP ticket in 2007.[6]

In 2006, the party's leader Suvi-Anne Siimes announced her resignation from the post, and the party, as a result of long-standing feuds with the leftist section of the party. On May 13, 2006, Martti Korhonen was elected as the new party leader. He was followed by Paavo Arhinmäki in June 2009, following the party's bad performance in the 2009 EU parliamentary election.

The Left Alliance had three portfolios in the two cabinets of Paavo Lipponen (1995-2003). The party had two portfolios in the cabinet of Jyrki Katainen from 2011 to 2014. In the spring of 2014 the Left Alliance decided to leave the cabinet, citing the party's opposition to the government's decision to cut social welfare programs.[7]

The party won 14 seats in the election in 2011, but two MPs were expelled from the parliamentary group after repeatedly breaking from the official party line.[8] The party lost its MEP in the 2009 European elections, but was able to regain the seat in 2014.

In the Finnish parliamentary election in 2015 the party got 211,615 or 7,1% of total votes, and got 12 seats in the parliament.[9]


Left Alliance party program adopted by the 5th Party Congress 16 June 2007: The fundamental values of Left Alliance are equality, freedom, sustainable development, and democracy. They think democracy must be strengthened and it must be stronger than the power of capital, challenging the global capitalism. Important values include also getting world into solidarity and stop Finnish polarization, freedom and the right to work and income for all people, environmentally conscious Finland. [3] The party is for equality in all its forms and identifies strongly feminist and anti-racist just as well as supporting economic equality. The party supports basic income and supports strongly the weakest members of the society.

Some in the party accept the EU and others reject it. The younger generation of the party is more pro-EU than the older. Also, the younger leadership has been gradually changing its politics to quite Green-lined positions, thus losing some worker voters, but gaining then a threshold support from young people of bigger cities in the South[citation needed]


Elections results

Presidential elections

Election year Candidate 1st round 2nd round
# of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall votes  % of overall vote
1994 Claes Andersson 122,820 3.8 (#6)
2000 None
2006 Supported Tarja Halonen
2012 Paavo Arhinmäki 167,359 5.5 (#6)
Parliamentary elections
Year MPs Votes
1991 19 274 639 10.08 %
1995 22 310 340 11.16 %
1999 20 291 675 10.88 %
2003 19 277 152 9.93 %
2007 17 244 296 8.82 %
2011 14 238 437 8.15 %
2015 12 211 702 7.13 %
    Municipal elections
Year Councillors Votes
1992 1 319 310 757 11.67 %
1996 1 128 246 597 10.37 %
2000 1 027 219 671 9.88 %
2004 987 228 358 9.56 %
2008 833 224 170 8.78 %
2012 640 199 312 8.0 %

European Parliament

Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/-
1996 236,490 10.51 (#4)
2 / 16
1999 112,757 9.08 (#5)
1 / 16
Decrease 1
2004 151,291 9.13 (#5)
1 / 14
Steady 0
2009 98,690 5.93 (#7)
0 / 13
Decrease 1
2014 160,818 9.3 (#6)
1 / 13
Increase 1


  1. STT (2011-02-07). "Vihreiden jäsenmäärä kasvanut räjähdysmäisesti - HS.fi - Politiikka" (in suomi). HS.fi. Retrieved 2013-12-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  3. 3.0 3.1 http://www.vasemmisto.fi/images/ohjelmat/Left_Alliance_Party_Program_2007.pdf
  4. "EL-Parties". European LEFT. Retrieved 2013-12-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Claire Annesley (11 January 2013). Political and Economic Dictionary of Western Europe. Routledge. pp. 22–. ISBN 978-1-135-35547-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Viialainen Matti - Suomen sosialidemokraattinen puolue - Eduskuntavaalit 2007 - HS.fi" (in suomi). .vaalikone.fi. 2007-08-31. Retrieved 2013-12-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. http://yle.fi/uutiset/vasemmistoliitto_lahtee_hallituksesta/7155893
  8. "Vasemmistoliiton eduskuntaryhmä | Eduskunta". Web.eduskunta.fi. Retrieved 2013-12-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Koko maa - puolueiden kannatus". Yle uutiset. Yleisradio. Retrieved 19 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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