Left Alliance (Finland)

Left Alliance
Abbreviation vas.
Chairperson Li Andersson
Secretary Joonas Leppänen
Founded 1990
Preceded by Finnish People's Democratic League (SKDL)
Newspaper Kansan Uutiset
Youth wing Left Youth
Women's wing Left Women
Children's wing Democratic Union of Finnish Pioneers
Membership (2017) 11,000[1]
Ideology Democratic socialism[2][3]
Political position Left-wing[4]
European affiliation Party of the European Left[5]
International affiliation None
European Parliament group European United Left–Nordic Green Left
Nordic affiliation Nordic Green Left Alliance
Colors Pink
12 / 200
European Parliament
1 / 13
661 / 8,999

The Left Alliance (Finnish: Vasemmistoliitto, Swedish: Vänsterförbundet, vas.) is a left-wing political party in Finland.[4]

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 history has been characterised by internal disputes and bickering, as it was formed via 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 group to promote a 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 subsequently left the party and ran 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 its only seat.

In the 2011 election, the party won 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 the Left Alliance left the cabinet over a dispute on a package of spending cuts and tax hikes.[7] In 2014 European Parliament election, the party regained their seat.

In the 2015 parliamentary election, the party received 211,615 votes, 7,1% of the total, and won 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 succeeded 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 the Left Alliance are equality, freedom, sustainable development, and democracy. They think democracy must be strengthened, must be stronger than the power of capital and should challenge global capitalism. Important values also include global solidarity, stopping political polarisation 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 prioritises 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 Green-aligned positions, thus losing some working-class voters but gaining new support from young people in the bigger cities of 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)
2018 Merja Kyllönen 89,977 3.0 (#7)
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%
2017 658 226,626 8.8%

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
2004 151,291 9.13 (#5)
1 / 14
2009 98,690 5.93 (#7)
0 / 13
2014 160,818 9.3 (#6)
1 / 13

Current members of parliament

The following politicians were elected to the Finnish Parliament in the April 2015 parliamentary election.[11]


  1. facebook.com/vasemmisto (2017-06-19). "Vasemmistoliiton jäsenmäärä kasvaa, korkein luku sitten vuoden 2001" (in Finnish). facebook.com/vasemmisto. Retrieved 2017-06-19.
  2. 1 2 Nordsieck, Wolfram (2015). "Finland". Parties and Elections in Europe.
  3. 1 2 http://www.vasemmisto.fi/images/ohjelmat/Left_Alliance_Party_Program_2007.pdf
  4. 1 2 Claire Annesley (11 January 2013). Political and Economic Dictionary of Western Europe. Routledge. pp. 22–. ISBN 978-1-135-35547-0.
  5. "EL-Parties". European LEFT. Retrieved 2013-12-23.
  6. "Viialainen Matti - Suomen sosialidemokraattinen puolue - Eduskuntavaalit 2007 - HS.fi" (in Finnish). .vaalikone.fi. 2007-08-31. Retrieved 2013-12-23.
  7. HT. "Left Alliance leaves government". www.helsinkitimes.fi.
  8. "Koko maa - puolueiden kannatus". Yle uutiset. Yleisradio. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  9. "Puheenjohtajuuden jättävä Arhinmäki Ylellä: Enemmän aikaa perheelle". Iltalehti. 2016-04-30. Retrieved 2016-06-07.
  10. "Li Andersson kruunattiin virallisesti puheenjohtajaksi". Iltalehti. 2016-06-11. Retrieved 2016-06-11.
  11. "Eduskuntavaalit 2015". Yle. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
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