Finland after the parliamentary elections

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(April 9, 1999) On March 21, general elections were held in Finland. Important, because the call by the industry and some political parties for the construction of a fifth nuclear power station increased. The position of the finnish greens is clear: no new reactor!

(508.4995) Satu Hassi - In the election the winners were Coalition Party (Conservatives), Center Party, Greens and the small Christian League. Social Democrats lost 12 seats but remain the biggest party in Parliament, and they are going to lead the forming of the next governement. The Greens won 2 seats, having 11 seats now. The support of the Greens grew from 6,5% to 7,3%.

Especially the Coalition party and the reperesentatives of the energy intensive industry have demanded building new nuclear power stations in Finland. The five party governement, headed by prime minister Lipponen (social democrats) where Greens have participated, and which was formed after the elections in 1995, agreed in the beginning that this governement will not take up this issue again in Parliament. This agreement held, although the conservaties made several appempts to brake it.

Now the negotiations about the next governement are going to be started soon. The leader of the Coalition Party, Mr. Niinistö, has several times demanded more nuclear power. The only party, which during the election campaign was explicitly against that was the Greens. The Greens have stated, that they are not going to participate in a governement, which takes building more nuclear power stations into its program. In August last year we wrote that the Greens were hesitating in their anti-nuclear position, but this is clearly not the case.

Among the elected 200 MP's 96 oppose building more nuclear power, 79 are in favour of increasing the nuclear capacity, 25 have not told their opinion. The only party, where the supporters of nuclear power have the majority, is the Coalition party. Among Social Democrats 50% oppose and 50% support nuclear power. In all other parties majority is against nulcear power. The situation is very similar to that after the elections in 1991. The parliament elected then rejected the permission for the 5th nuclear power station.

The present prime minister Lipponen is going to lead the negotiations of the next governement. It is not yet clear, if building new nuclear capacity will be a major issue in these negotiations. If the new govermenement takes increasing nuclear capacity into its program, the final decision will be made by the Parliament, and in that case the propability is rather high that the Parliament will reject the permission as it did in 1993.

Source: Satu Hassi, speaker of the Green League of Finland
Green League of Finland
Eerikinkatu 27A
00180 Helsinki