Friday, October 10, 2008

Finnish Local Election Season

The season for Finnish Local Elections is coming up and surprise, surprise..after four years of living here.. I have received the elegibility to VOTE!

I wasn't sure first of all that I would take part, because I don't really know much about the parties here or what they stand for. However, because I am of the opinion that the voting process is a vital part of life, that so many people DIED to enable me.. a woman to have that vote.. I decided that I would do as much as possible to find out about the process and the candidates! I didn't want to have to vote on the basis of what flower I liked most...LOL!!! Nor would I of course...

During a conversation with my friend Minna, I asked if I could go with her when she went voting. The actual date for the election varies, but the main day..or the last day is the 26th of October. There are apparently a couple of weekends before hand that you can go and vote, if the 26th is not suitable. However, as Minna put it.. its more exciting to go on the final day.... So, I shall go with her then.

So the next question was.. For whom do I vote? Is it the same as in the UK? Labour, Conservative, Lib-Dem.. well.. long story short.. sort of.. with lots of other variants..similar to the UK. I personally believe that Local elections are of GREAT importance, affecting you so much closer to home naturally.. and that personality of the candidate and their methods is of prime importance. I had this awful feeling that I was going to have to go out and find these candidates to ask them what they stood for.. and try to understand it all in Finnish! That would be really hard work but not impossible!

Vasemmistoliitto (Left Alliance)

Kansallinen Kokoomus (Coalition)

Suomen Keskusta (Centre Party)

Fortunately though, my friend Minna told me of something that they have available here for undecided voters.. an Election Finnish called a 'Vaalikone' where you can input your answers to a given set of questions..and it tells you what party you match best with.. or at least with which individual candidates answers! Well, this intrigued me, as I've not heard of such a thing before. Have you? I've not seen this in the UK anyway....

Initially I thought this was a manual thing, outside the election place..for the last minute desperate LOL!! Yet no.. this is an ONLINE service (of course..) and so, I set about using my Finnish, to suss out how this worked.

Available in different formats on different sites, I tried the site (the Finnish equivalent of BBC) and

It started off with asking questions.. and because these are local elections, I actually had questions about my home area of Sodankylä - that I could answer and had an opinion about.. in most cases, very strong opinions.. nothing middle grounded and no grey areas! You can answer in four ways, Strongly agree, Slightly agree, Slightly disagree, Strongly disagree.

The question number 10/20 shown below asks: County services and usage charges would be better if graduated so that better waged people paid more for services than before. (Hmmmm... sounds familiar!! Politics is politics everywhere! LOL!!!)

At the end of the 20 questions, it gave me my answers.. but I was a little confused as I was missing out a whole party in the returns.. which would have normally included the party I'd vote for if I was in the UK! Turns out that not all party candidates had entered their answers at that time.. so I wasnt getting the 'whole picture' ...LOL

So, I decided to try the site too.. that was a harder one to work out.. with many more questions (or rather statements) and not all so local. This question shown below asks: In your county, the county tax is too high.

The response list was more of an overall answer from more parties this time.

In actual fact, this particular Vaalikone REALLY helped me find a candidate to vote for! For, at the top of this list.. there was a name that I recognised. A person I know who lives locally! Now, this lady literally saved my life once, not long after moving here.. So, I wrote to her to tell her that I have now received the ability to vote and had just found out that she was running as a candidate.. and that SHE would be getting my vote! :D SUCCESS!

I think this Vaalikone is an EXCELLENT idea. Something that perhaps other countries should adopt - if they havent already!

If you fancy learning about these three parties click:

I will let you know who WINS!