Green League (VIHR). ‘Not left, not right, but forwards!’ is the Green slogan in Finland.
VIHR, like many Green parties, has drifted from its roots as an environmentalist protest party to a rather serious party with a relatively left-liberal agenda. The party’s supporters and members are dotted all over the spectrum, but in the main the party’s supporters are centre-left.
The party was the first Green party in Europe to enter government, joining the SDP-led ‘rainbow coalition’ between 1995 and 2002, when it left over the government’s stance on nuclear energy. VIHR also joined the KESK/KOK government of 2007-2011, for which it was seen as having ‘sold out’ by many on the left. The party tends to be attacked by opponents on the left for this decision, and they accuse it of being the ‘national parks division of the National Coalition Party’. On the right the party is stereotyped as a bunch of hippies.
The party is extremely popular in Helsinki, however, where it is the second largest party. The party’s 2009 result was something of a high point for the party, as was the party’s impressive showing in the 2012 Presidential election where it came second.
The party’s leader is Ville Niinisto, nephew of the KOK President. He was also previously married to one of the co-spokespeople of the Swedish Greens.
VIHR currently sits in the six party coalition cabinets, where it holds the environment and international development ministries.
While the party was very split on Europe the party has now become Finland’s most pro-European party, supporting a Federal Europe.
The party is, unsurprisingly, a member of the European Green Party. The party’s two MEPs demonstrate strong loyalty at 98.8% cohesion with their group. They are the sixth most loyal member of the group.