Left Alliance (Finland)

Left Alliance
Chairman Li Andersson
Secretary Joonas Leppänen
Founded 1990
Preceded by Finnish People's Democratic League (SKDL)
Headquarters Viherniemenkatu 5 A
Newspaper Kansan Uutiset
Youth wing Left Youth
Women's wing Left Women
Children's wing Democratic Union of Finnish Pioneers
Membership  (2011) 10,500[1]
Ideology Democratic socialism[2][3]
Political position Left-wing
European affiliation Party of the European Left[4]
Nordic Green Left Alliance
International affiliation None
European Parliament group European United Left–Nordic Green Left
Colours Red, Green
12 / 200
European Parliament
1 / 13
640 / 9,674

The Left Alliance (Finnish: Vasemmistoliitto, Swedish: Vänsterförbundet, VAS) is a left-wing political party in Finland.[5]

Founded in 1990, largely as a successor of the Finnish People's Democratic League (SKDL), it has received some electoral success, receiving around ten percent of the vote in parliamentary elections. The party is a member of the Party of the European Left and Nordic Green Left Alliance. The party organ is the weekly Kansan Uutiset.


The party was founded by the Finnish People's Democratic League (SKDL), the majority of members of the waning Communist Party of Finland (SKP) and the Finnish Women's Democratic League (SNDL). It was later joined by the communist Democratic Alternative. The founding meeting was held in April 1990 in Helsinki, following the publishing of the April Declaration, which stated the party's ideals.

The party's short history has been characterised by internal disputes and bickering, as it was formed by people with very different views on society. There have been several defections from the Left Alliance to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the newly formed Communist Party of Finland. In 2005, the party's former secretary and Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions's assistant head Matti Viialainen formed a society to promote merger between the two largest Finnish left-wing political parties, the Left Alliance and the SDP. This caused an outrage within the Left Alliance, and Viialainen was condemned for wanting to break up the party. Viialainen would subsequently leave the party and run for parliament on the SDP ticket in 2007.[6]

In 2006, the party's leader Suvi-Anne Siimes announced her resignation from the post, and the party, as a result of long-standing feuds with the leftist section of the party. On May 13, 2006, Martti Korhonen was elected as the new party leader. He was followed by Paavo Arhinmäki in June 2009, following the party's bad performance in the 2009 EU parliamentary election, in which the party lost their only seat.

In the 2011 election, the party got 14 seats and became a partner in the six-party grand coalition cabinet led by Jyrki Katainen. The decision to join the government created a split in the party, leading to the expulsion of two MPs from the parliamentary group. In 2014 Left Alliance left the cabinet over dispute on a package of spending cuts and tax rises.[7] In 2014 European Parliament election, the party regained their seat.

In the Finnish parliamentary election in 2015 the party got 211,615 or 7,1% of total votes, and got 12 seats in the parliament.[8] In April 2016, Arhinmäki announced that he wouldn't seek another term as the party leader.[9] On 11 June 2016, Arhinmäki was followed by Li Andersson.[10]


According to the Left Alliance's Party programme adopted by the 5th Party Congress 16 June 2007, the fundamental values of Left Alliance are equality, freedom, sustainable development, and democracy. They think democracy must be strengthened and it must be stronger than the power of capital, challenging the global capitalism. Important values also include global solidarity, and stopping polarization in Finland, freedom and the right to work and income for all people, and environmental consciousness.[3] The party is for equality in all its forms and identifies strongly as feminist and anti-racist as well as supporting economic equality. The party supports introducing a basic income and supports strongly the weakest members of the society.

The Left Alliance has a strongly Eurosceptic wing. The party is divided on this issue: the younger generation of the party is more pro-EU than the older. Also, the younger leadership has been gradually changing its politics to quite Green-aligned positions, thus losing some working-class voters, but gaining then a threshold support from young people in bigger cities in the South.


Elections results

Presidential elections

Election year Candidate 1st round 2nd round
# of overall votes % of overall vote # of overall votes % of overall vote
1994 Claes Andersson 122,820 3.8 (#6)
2000 None
2006 Supported Tarja Halonen
2012 Paavo Arhinmäki 167,359 5.5 (#6)
Parliamentary elections
Year MPs Votes
19 / 200
274,639 10.08 %
22 / 200
310,340 11.16 %
20 / 200
291,675 10.88 %
19 / 200
277,152 9.93 %
17 / 200
244,296 8.82 %
14 / 200
238,437 8.15 %
12 / 200
211,702 7.13 %
    Municipal elections
Year Councillors Votes
1992 1 319 310,757 11.67 %
1996 1 128 246,597 10.37 %
2000 1 027 219,671 9.88 %
2004 987 228,358 9.56 %
2008 833 224,170 8.78 %
2012 640 199,312 8.0 %

European Parliament

Election year # of overall votes % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/-
1996 236,490 10.51 (#4)
2 / 16
1999 112,757 9.08 (#5)
1 / 16
Decrease 1
2004 151,291 9.13 (#5)
1 / 14
Steady 0
2009 98,690 5.93 (#7)
0 / 13
Decrease 1
2014 160,818 9.3 (#6)
1 / 13
Increase 1


External links

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