What Happened to the Finnish Left?

The downfall of Sanna Marin and the rise of Alexander Stubb is due to the usual suspects, and a new era of sexism.

Taru Anniina Liikanen

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Alexander Stubb in an Ironman competition, showing how far he is from traditional Finnish masculinity. Source. Heptagon, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

It has been a big 12 months in Finnish politics. First, primer minister Sanna Marin’s Social Democratic Party (SDP) lost the parliamentary election in April 2023, and she stepped down from her position as party leader.

Marin’s place was taken by Antti Lindtman. The female-led, leftist governing coalition, that had seemed to promise a more progressive future, disappeared, and the country went back to being ruled by a coalition of right-wing parties, as it had been before Marin.

After the election, things quickly started crumbling as the new government made its priorities clear, drastically cutting spending from the people who most need it, like families, students and low-income workers.

Resistance has been fierce. Strikes have now become a constant, thanks to labor reforms and reductions in the social policies that made Finland the world's happiest country six times in a row.

Honestly, I don’t know what their plan is, except widening the income gap between the wealthy and the rest, and making the entire system eventually blow up.

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Taru Anniina Liikanen

Stand-up comedian and recovering political ghostwriter. Finnish by birth, porteña at heart. Bad jokes frequent.