New Blog on Illiberalism to replace populism in the Finns Party

The transformation of the Finns Party from the populist position to the illiberal right is reinforced at the Party congress that elected a new (female) leader to the party, discusses Emilia Palonen (PI of HEPPsinki).

A new blog post at the ECPR's Loop by our PI Emilia Palonen discusses recent developments in the Finns Party. Formerly proud of its populist roots, the party has moved to the illiberal radical right, Palonen argues. She has been commenting on the party's developments in national media, even at the YLE studio on the day of Riikka Purra's election to party leadership. Purra herself rejects populism and confirms Palonen's analysis on leaving out that term

Both women were on the same stage before the local elections discussing Finns Party's line regarding migration. Local elections were a slight disappointment to the Finns Party who did not manage to mobilise voters to the polls, and elections exceptionally arranged in June had a low turnout overall, but since then their support polls within the three largest parties.

Read more of Finnish politics at the Political Data Yearbook of the ECPR journal EJPR, the latest entry on 2019 data, crucial for understanding Finns Party's prominence at the Finnish parliament Eduskunta is available in open access to all readers. Currently all but one of the parliamentary parties in Finland are chaired by women.  

One of the HEPPsinki founding projects Mainstreaming Populism in the 21st Century Consortium, whose PI is Juha Herkman, is ending its Academy of Finland funded period. Palonen's work relates also to this phenomenon where the parties that use a populist logic become more popular, or get their agenda through. At stake are hegemonic shifts and counterhegemonic processes, Palonen argues in her post

Prior to Purra's election Palonen was commenting at the Nordic political scientists' NoPSA conference 2021 the keynote Cas Mudde, bringing up these recent developments. And in the light of these discussions as well, suggests using radical right to denote that there are still movements and aspiring parties further to the extreme right of the Finns Party. For her it is difficult to call a single-issue party a populist one, as from the Laclaudian perspective she upholds populist logic not only thrives on antagonism but also heterogeneity on the side of us. Heterogeneity in the case of the Finns Party is argued as a more demographic than democratic claim on the people, but that differentiation is the topic of another post and a recent academic article by Palonen.