Helsinki (24.04.2011 - Juhani Artto) Big changes characterise the April 17 Parliamentary elections in Finland, but - as in the previous Parliament - a clear majority of the MPs are rank and file members of trade unions. Over 120 of the 200 MPs have union affiliation.
Some 60 MPs are members in the unions that are affiliated members of the highly educated employees' confederation Akava. At least 39 MPs are rank and file members in unions of the union confederation SAK and 22 MPs in unions of the salaried employees' union confederation STTK. In addition, several journalists, organized in the independent Union of Journalists in Finland, were elected.
Among different party candidates belonging to the SAK affiliated unions the Social Democrats fared best with 25 seats. Former SAK President Lauri Ihalainen (sd) received over 15,000 votes, topping the poll among the Social Democrats and becoming the fifth highest poll scorer overall. The SDP received 42 seats in total. 10 of the 14 MPs of the Left Alliance are rank and file members of the SAK unions.
Among the MPs who are rank and file members of the STTK unions, MPs of the True Finns have now the largest representation. The election was a huge success to the party as it increased its number of seats almost eight-fold, from 5 to 39. The True Finns have now 9 MPs among the rank and file members of STTK unions. The other parties with MPs organized in the STTK unions, are as follows: The Centre Party 6, The National Coalition Party (conservatives) 4 and SDP (Social Democrats) 3.
According to Akava's largest union OAJ, organizing teachers, the new Parliament has 25 MPs who are teachers or who have had or have other jobs in educational institutions. "Most of them are OAJ members", the union says. The Social Democrats (9) and the National Coalition Party (7) are best represented in this group of 25 "education" MPs.
The largest union in the new Parliament is the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors (JHL). 23 of its rank and file members are MPs. 17 of these are Social Democrats and 4 represent the Left Alliance.