Over a quarter of young Finnish people support the national-populist Finns Party (PS), according to recent polls. This is important both for Finland’s upcoming elections on April 2nd, and—perhaps more importantly—for challenging the progressive narrative of the ‘liberal youth.’
Recent numbers, according to Helsinki market researcher Kantar, show that 29% of Finnish voters aged 18 to 29 intend to vote for the Finns Party. This puts them eight points ahead of the second most popular party with the youth, the Greens, who stand at 18%.
Many in Finland say this surge of youth support for PS is due to the simplicity of their message. Speaking to Finnish outlet Helsinki Times, a member of the PS Youth Wing said young people resonated with party values that are “simple and easy to digest.” He also said PS was backed by young people, as their common sense is strong and uncorrupted by the compromises of later life. Another young voter said he favours the “realism” PS will bring to politics.
This follows a bigger political trend across Europe, as young people increasingly turn to nationalist and conservative solutions to the problems caused by mass immigration, and the value of law and order. Last autumn in neighbouring Sweden, the national-conservative Sweden Democrats became the second biggest party, notably doubling their support among voters aged 18 to 21. It also mirrors similar trends in France and Hungary.
The Finns Party, formerly known as the True Finns Party, was founded in 1995. The party’s main policies centre around euroscepticism, immigration control, and the promotion of traditional Finnish values. In recent years, the party has gained significant support, becoming the second-largest party in the Finnish parliament after the 2019 elections. The party’s leader is currently Riika Purra, who has been criticised for her comments on immigration.
While it remains to be seen how these trends will change European politics in the upcoming years, the litmus test for Finland will be the elections at the beginning of this April.