Tuesday 10/26/21

Foreigners underrepresented among candidates for municipal elections

Underrepresentation is highest in areas where the proportion of the population of foreign language speakers is higher, especially in the Greater Helsinki region and in southwestern Finland.
06 June 2021, Saxony-Anhalt, Magdeburg: A voter casts his ballot in a ballot box at a polling station during the state parliament election in Saxony-Anhalt, the last state election before the federal election in September 2021. Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa
A voter casts his ballot in a ballot box. Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa.

People of foreign origin are underrepresented among the candidates for the next municipal elections to be held on June 13, says Statistics Finland in its latest analysis of candidates.

According to Statistics Finland's data, people of foreign background, that is, those whose both parents were born abroad, represent around 7% of those entitled to vote but just 2.7% of candidates.

This means that there are far fewer foreign-language speaking candidates than foreign-language speaking persons entitled to vote.

The total number of candidates for the local elections amounts to 35,627, of which only 953 are people of foreign origin. The total number of people of foreign origin with the right to vote is 323,722.

The under-representation is highest in areas where the population share of foreign-language speakers is largest, like Uusimaa – especially in the Greater Helsinki region – and in Southwest Finland (Turku area).

In Uusimaa, the share of foreign-language speakers is 8.9 and in Southwest Finland 4.6 percentage points lower than among persons entitled to vote.

Screenshot 2021-06-06 at 11-16-49 Statistics Finland - 1 Background analysis of candidates in the Municipal elections 2021

Source: Statistics Finland.

Proportion higher than in 2017

The share of foreign-language speakers among all candidates has, however, grown slightly from the 2017 elections when it was 2.2%.

The highest proportions of candidates with foreign background were nominated by the Swedish People’s Party (5.6%) and the least by the True Finns Party (Perussuomalaiset) (1.5%).

The Green League and the Christian Democrats also have more than average candidates with foreign background.

The largest group of foreign-language speaking candidates is formed by Russian speakers, 191 candidates, and the second largest by Estonian speakers, 95 candidates.

There are 331 citizens from over 60 different countries among the candidates.