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Ultra-Nationalists Rewrite the Playbook in Finland’s Election

  • Anti-immigration Finns Party comes within hair of first place
  • Shedding its more moderate elements helped party gain backing
Jussi Halla-aho
Jussi Halla-ahoPhotographer: Vesa Moilanen/AFP via Getty Images
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Across much of Europe, the far right has sought to gain popularity by toning down its rougher edges. But Finland’s nationalists just jettisoned that playbook and were rewarded by voters for their extremism.

The anti-immigrant, euro-skeptic Finns Party came second in Sunday’s election, and is set to enter parliament with just one seat less than the victors, the Social Democrats. It was the closest election result in six decades, with the outcome representing a shocking upset over the center-right National Coalition party. The Center Party of Prime Minister Juha Sipila suffered a stinging defeat, coming in fourth.