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Finnish dangerous liaisons
by Thanos Kalamidas
2011-04-25 10:41:58
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It was a film back in eighties with Glenn Close, John Malkovich and a very young Michelle Pfeiffer and it was all about human behaviour and sexual relationships to their limits, a wild and unpredictable game of love, hate and egoisms. Just like the negotiations for the new Finnish government between the conservatives of the Kokoomus, the social-Democrats and the extreme right True Finns. A game of passion with too many lies and a lot of hypocrisy not the one actors stage in a play but the one that is going to reflect lives in Finland and abroad.

For the next few days the Finnish political life will balance between complicate calculations with or without a calculator and a poker game with the most unexpected and unlike mates. So let’s start with the calculator. If agreed the three first parties in the last elections can form a coalition government. Kokoomus with 20.4%, the SDP (social-Democrats) with 19.1% and the True Finns with 19.1% make 58.6%; far more than the necessary 51% and they form a strong government that can rule for the next four years with the full support of the parliament. But that means that negotiations between with the three parties will go smoothly and most importantly the three parties will do the necessary retreats which in this case points the figure at the True Finns.

Both the conservatives of the Kokoomus and the SDP are openly pro-Europeans, supporters of the common currency and definitely support every solution to support the common currency even if that includes the bailout of Portugal, they are definitely supporting the permanent crisis mechanism (ESM) and the temporary Euro rescue fund (EFSF) and they are already committed far before the election campaign started. The True Finns are the other side dismissing all the above. The consequences of a Finnish boycotting the Portuguese bailout and the European mechanism to protect euro will be dramatic not only for Portugal but for the whole euro-zone including Finland. Actually these consequences haven’t so much to do with the money the member states will participate but with the so much demanded the last few years political unity in front the common threats. The European political unite issue has really stretched all the limits and if it had been shown five years ago a lot of things might have been avoided including the necessity of today’s bailouts. That doesn’t mean that Greece or Portugal wouldn’t have to pay there debts but their debts – through the national bonds - would have been easier to handle far before becoming preys for the international shylocks.

But this has been the flag issue for the True Finns since immigration – the other issue – demands a more sensitive handling and the True Finns weren’t ready during the campaign to bet their victory into that. Rout is the only solution for the True Finns in this case if they want to participate in the government hoping that when it comes to the parliament they can express their opposition to the bailout but knowing that with the help of the Centre Party (Keskusta) and the Greens the bill will get the necessary majority. But then again they will depend in many ifs that again will demand another series of negotiations and retreats. And the immigration is another issue the True Fins will have to do their negotiations but in this case retreats will come form all sides since the issue took gigantic dimensions during the election campaign for all the parties and somehow they can find a common ground. But this is not the only difference. With the conservatives and the SDP; from the social services to how the economy should be handled the difference vary from big to huge to unbeaten and it is easier for the conservatives and SDP to find common ground than the two of them with the True Finns. The day after for the True Finns sounds every minute more difficult making this liaison every bit more dangerous.

Now the possibility regarding common ground of an alliance that would include SDP, the Centre party (Keskusta), the Green League, the Swedish People’s party and the Christian Democrats seems more likely but this would happen only if they would united in front the common enemy and in this case the True Finns. But Keskusta and the Green League have already announced that their intentions are to remain for a time in the opposition. The reasons are totally understandable. Keskusta has been under temporary leadership for too long – actually even the former PM Matti Vanhanen started as temporary – and the balance between the 9old guard and the new wave seems very fragile at the moment with the party needing a period to find its way and perhaps renew its policies. The Greens got their lesson, when you ally with the enemy in the end you pay it and the lose of five parliamentary seats was a good way to learn this lesson.

Of course for the True Finns the perfect would have been a coalition government that would include the True Finns, Kokoomus, Christian Democrats and the open support of the Keskusta. That would have been the perfect situation and would give the government an absolute control over the parliament with 124 MPs; but however odd that might sounds there are more possibilities for the True Finns to partner with the SDP than with the Centre party!

What is left is …poker. The negotiations are going to be long but the time limited and that again makes them dangerous and somehow ruthless. Everything has to be decided and clear before the European summit in the mid May where the European states must take a final decision for the Portuguese bailout and the beginning of the European crisis mechanism till then Finland will live her dangerous liaisons always remembering that in the film the innocent died in the end.

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