chapter  4
Immigration, integration and the Finns Party
Issue ownership by coincidence or by stealth?
ByMikko Kuisma, Mikael Nygård
Pages 19

This chapter examines how and to what extent immigration and integration were discussed by the Finnish mainstream and the populist radical right (PRR) contender during the 2007, 2011 and 2015 elections. It argues that the Finnish mainstream, rather than strategically ignoring immigration and integration or being afraid to speak their minds for fear of losing votes, instead concentrated more on presenting themselves as the responsible alternative equipped with the necessary statecraft to deal with the economic crisis. The chapter looks at factors both internal and external to the party to understand how populist politics has been shaped in Finland. Internally, the legacy of agrarian populism from the late 1950s to the 1980s and how it became more or less mainstream has had a deep impact. Externally, significant contextual factors are in the Finnish political tradition of inclusion instead of cordons sanitaires and how even the populists have been considered as natural parties of government after electoral victories.