Green League

Finnish political party

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Green League
Vihreä liitto (Finnish)
Grönä förbundet (Swedish)
Ruoná lihttu (Northern Sami)
Ruánáá litto (Inari Sami)
Ruânn lett (Skolt Sami)
Abbreviation Vihr
Chairperson Sofia Virta
Secretary Anna Moring [fi]
General Secretary Tiina Kivinen [fi]
Parliamentary group leader Atte Harjanne
First deputy chair Oras Tynkkynen
Second deputy chair Silja Keränen [fi]
Third deputy chair Bella Forsgrén
Chair of the party council Riina Lumme [fi]
Founded 28 February 1987; 37 years ago (1987-02-28)
Legalized 1988; 36 years ago (1988)
Headquarters Mannerheimintie 15b A, 00260 Helsinki
Women’s wing Vihreät Naiset [fi]
Youth and student wing Federation of Green Youth and Students
Membership .mw-parser-output .nobold{font-weight:normal}(2023) Decrease 8,079[1]
Ideology .mw-parser-output .plainlist ol,.mw-parser-output .plainlist ul{line-height:inherit;list-style:none;margin:0;padding:0}.mw-parser-output .plainlist ol li,.mw-parser-output .plainlist ul li{margin-bottom:0}

Political position Centre-left
European affiliation European Green Party
International affiliation Global Greens
European Parliament group Greens–European Free Alliance
Nordic affiliation Centre Group
Colors .mw-parser-output .legend{page-break-inside:avoid;break-inside:avoid-column}.mw-parser-output .legend-color{display:inline-block;min-width:1.25em;height:1.25em;line-height:1.25;margin:1px 0;text-align:center;border:1px solid black;background-color:transparent;color:black}.mw-parser-output .legend-text{}  Green
Slogan Neljän vuodenajan puolesta (For the four seasons)
13 / 200

European Parliament
3 / 14

432 / 8,859

County seats
90 / 1,379

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The Green League (Finnish: Vihreä liitto [ˈʋihreæ ˈliːtːo], abbr. Vihr; Swedish: Gröna förbundet [ˈɡrøːnɑ fœrˈbʉndet]; Northern Sami: Ruoná lihttu; Inari Sami: Ruánáá litto; Skolt Sami: Ruânn lett), shortened to the Greens (Finnish: Vihreät; Swedish: de Gröna),[2] is a green political party in Finland.[3][4][5] Ideologically, the Green League is positioned on the centre-left of the political spectrum.[6][7][8] It is a reformist party and it is supportive of feminism, animal rights and green liberal ideas.[9]

Originally split on whether Finland should join the European Union, the Green League decided on being pro-European, it was also the first Finnish party in favor of the federalisation of the European Union.[10][11] The Green League is among the midsized political parties in Finland. The Greens hold thirteen of the 200 seats in the Finnish Parliament and three of Finland’s 14 European Parliament seats. The party is a member of the Global Greens and the European Green Party; its MEPs sit in the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament.

Founded in 1987, the party absorbed a number of green organizations and their members, electing its first MPs in 1987. The party won ten seats in the 1991 election. Despite small losses in the 1995 election, Pekka Haavisto joined Paavo Lipponen‘s first cabinet, which was composed of a rainbow coalition. This made the Green League the first green party to form part of a national cabinet. The party remained in government until 2002 when it resigned in opposition to nuclear power. The party slowly rose in popularity between 1995 and 2007, when winning a total of 15 seats, and joined the center-right-led government. In the 2011 election, the party suffered significant losses, falling to ten seats, but remained in government. In 2015, the party recovered its losses from 2011, returning to 15 seats. In the 2019 election, the party achieved by far its best-ever result, winning 20 seats and 11.5% of the vote. They became the fifth-largest party and became the third-largest member of the Social Democratic-led government.

In the 2017 municipal elections, the Green League was the fourth biggest party with 534 seats. They gained 211 more seats from 2012 elections. Since June 2023, the party’s leader and chairman has been Sofia Virta.[12] From 2015 to 2019, the party was in opposition and provided harsh criticism regarding the actions of the conservative Sipilä Cabinet, such as financial support for economically well-off companies, Fortum‘s purchase of Uniper, and the expedited process of constitution-changing surveillance laws.[13][14][15]



The Green League was founded on 28 February 1987 and was registered as a political party the next year. Political activity had begun already in the early 1980s, when environmental activists, feminists, disillusioned young politicians from the marginalized Liberal People’s Party and other active groups began to campaign on green issues in Finland. In 1995, it was the first European green party to be part of a state-level cabinet.

The party was founded as a popular movement, which explains its name’s descriptor liitto, “league”. Initially, there was much resistance within the movement against the founding of a political party, motivated by Robert Michelsiron law of oligarchy, which claims that movements inevitably degenerate into oligarchies when they create a formal organization.[16] The party still especially stresses openness and democratic decision-making. Even though liitto has been dropped from the party’s website and advertisements, the word still remains in the official name.

Early activities (1983–1994)[edit]

The first two parliamentary representatives were elected even before the registration, in the 1983 parliamentary election. These were the first independent representatives in the Finnish Parliament. In 1987 the number of seats rose to four, and in 1991 to ten.

About half of the party’s members were against Finland joining the European Union in 1994. Later, polls showed that most Greens were anti-Eurozone.[17] The party heads declined to fight against euro adoption.

As part of the Lipponen Cabinets (1995–2003)[edit]

In the 1995 election, the Green League received a total of nine seats out of 200. The party joined the coalition cabinet led by the Social Democrats, and Pekka Haavisto became the Minister of the Environment,[18] thus becoming the first green minister in Europe.[19]

The Green League received 7.3% of the vote, and gained two additional seats in the 1999 election, raising the total to 11. The Greens continued in the next coalition cabinet, but resigned in protest on 26 May 2002, after the cabinet’s decision to allow the construction of a new nuclear plant was accepted by Parliament.

Growth to mainstream appeal (2003–present)[edit]

In 2003, the Green League received 8.0% of the vote, receiving a total of 14 seats. They increased their seats to 15 in the 2007 election while receiving 8.5% of the vote. In the 2011 election, the party lost five seats.

In the 2009 European Parliament elections, the Greens gained two of the thirteen Finnish seats in the European Parliament, which were occupied by Satu Hassi and Heidi Hautala.

At the municipal level, the Greens are an important force in the politics of the main cities of Finland. In the municipal election of 2008 the Greens received 8.9% of the vote; the vote share was considerably higher in Helsinki, where the Greens became the second-largest party with 23.2% of the vote.[20] In several other cities, the Greens achieved the position of the third-largest party. The Greens are weaker in rural area and especially in municipalities that experience high levels of outward migration.

By the 2017 Green League party congress, Niinistö had served three full two-year terms as the chairman and stepped down according to the rules of the party. In the following leadership election, there were six candidates running for party chairman, of whom MP Touko Aalto won the election.[21]

Soon after Aalto’s election, the popularity of the Green League surged in the polls and raised briefly as the second most popular party in the country.[22] However, in September 2017 the poll numbers turned into a downward slope, which continued until autumn 2018.[23] After taking a month of sick leave due to exhaustion in September 2018, Aalto soon announced that he was resigning from his post, citing depression and fatigue.[24]

In November 2018, the Green League decided to choose a temporary chairman to lead the party into the 2019 parliamentary elections and until the next party convention. In the leadership election, former chairman Pekka Haavisto was once again elected as chairman.[25]

In June 2019, Haavisto stepped down as the chairman of the party. Maria Ohisalo was the only candidate in the leadership election and was thus elected as chairman in the city of Pori.[26]

In the 2023 parliamentary election, Ohisalo was re-elected with 6,937 votes.[27] However, as the Greens suffered an election defeat, Ohisalo announced that she would not seek another term as chairman. In June 2023, she was replaced by Sofia Virta.[28]

Ideology and policies[edit]

An election canvassing tent for the Greens on Iso Roobertinkatu in Helsinki in 2011.
Members of the Finnish Green League party at the Helsinki Pride 2023 parade

The Green League is no longer a protest party, nor an alternative movement. Some Green candidates reject classifying the party as either left-wing or right-wing. Economic opinions of the members range between left and right.[16] However, members of the party on average place their party left of the Social Democrats and right of the Left Alliance.[29]

The party is one of the strongest proponents for same-sex marriage. The party is also distinct in its opposition against universal male conscription and wants to opt for a gender-neutral, selective version. The eventual goal of the Greens is voluntary military service.

In 2015, the party included universal basic income (UBI) as a proposal in their platform.[30] In February 2019, the party announced that it wanted to introduce a 300 universal basic income in the 2019 to 2023 parliamentary term, before transitioning to a 600 tax-free UBI during the following 2023 to 2027 parliamentary term.[31]

In the spring of 2018, the party proposed lowering the voting age to 15.[32]

The party stated in December 2018 that it supports investing €10 billion in Finland’s railway infrastructure and improving rail connections in the country, including building high-speed rail connections.[33]

In September 2021, the party voted to pass an internal motion supporting the legalisation and regulation of cannabis in Finland. It thus became the first party in Finland’s Parliament to publicly state support for cannabis being legalised in the country.[34][35][36]

Election results[edit]

Parliamentary elections[edit]

Election Votes % Seats +/- Government
1983 43,754 1.47
2 / 200

1987 115,988 4.03
4 / 200

Increase 2 Opposition
1991 185,894 6.82
10 / 200

Increase 6 Opposition
1995 181,198 6.52
9 / 200

Decrease 1 Coalition
1999 194,846 7.27
11 / 200

Increase 2 Coalition (1999–2002)
Opposition (2002–2003)
2003 223,846 8.01
14 / 200

Increase 3 Opposition
2007 234,429 8.46
15 / 200

Increase 1 Coalition
2011 213,172 7.25
10 / 200

Decrease 5 Coalition (2011–2014)
Opposition (2014–2015)
2015 253,102 8.53
15 / 200

Increase 5 Opposition
2019 354,194 11.49
20 / 200

Increase 5 Coalition
2023 217,426 7.03
13 / 200

Decrease 7 Opposition

Municipal elections[edit]

Election Councillors Votes %
1984 101 76,441 2.8
1988 94 61,581 2.3
1992 343 184,787 6.9
1996 292 149,334 6.3
2000 338 171,707 7.7
2004 313 175,933 7.4
2008 370 228,277 8.9
2012 323 213,100 8.5
2017 534 320,235 12.5
2021 432 258,624 10,6

European Parliament elections[edit]

Election Votes % Seats +/- Notes
1996 170,670 7.6
1 / 16

1999 166,786 13.4
2 / 16

Increase 1
2004 172,844 10.4
1 / 14

Decrease 1
2009 206,439 12.4
2 / 13

Increase 1
2014 160,967 9.3
1 / 13

Decrease 1
2019 292,892 16.0
2 / 13

Increase 1 [37]

Presidential elections[edit]

Parliamentarian and then-former MEP Heidi Hautala was a candidate in the presidential elections in 2000 and 2006, taking approximately a 3.5% share of votes in the first round in each. Pekka Haavisto was the first Green candidate in the 2012 election to enter the second round. Haavisto got an 18.8% share of votes in the first round, and lost to centre-right Sauli Niinistö in the second round held on 5 February.

Election Candidate 1st round 2nd round Result
Votes % Votes %
2000 Heidi Hautala 100,740 3.3 (#5) Lost
2006 Heidi Hautala 105,248 3.5 (#4) Lost
2012 Pekka Haavisto 574,275 18.8 (#2) 1,077,425 37.4 (#2) Lost
2018 Pekka Haavisto 370,823 12.4 (#2) Lost
2024 Pekka Haavisto[a] 836,357 25.8 (#2) 1,476,548 48.38 (#2) Lost

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  1. ^ Formally ran as independent.


List of party chairpersons[edit]

Current members of Parliament[edit]

The following 20 Greens politicians were elected to the Finnish Parliament in the 2019 parliamentary election. 16 out of 20 members are first-timers. 17 of the members are women.[38]

Current members of the European Parliament[edit]

Since 2020, the Green League has been represented by three MEPs in the European Parliament.

See also[edit]

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  1. ^ “Yli 4 700 vihreää antoi äänensä puheenjohtajavaalissa”, Helsingin Sanomat, 8 June, 2023
  2. ^ .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit;word-wrap:break-word}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation:target{background-color:rgba(0,127,255,0.133)}.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output a,.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#2C882D;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit} .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F} .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error, .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397}@media(prefers-color-scheme:dark){ .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error, .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397} .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F}}“Yle party poll: Centre recovers as Greens, Finns Party falter”. Yle Uutiset. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
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  6. ^ Jan-Erik Lane; Svante Errson (2008). “The Nordic Countries: Compromise and Corporatism in the Welfare State”. In Josep M. Colomer (ed.). Comparative European Politics: Third Edition. Routledge. p. 260. ISBN 978-1-134-07354-2.
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  11. ^ Raunio, Tapio; Tiilikainen, Teija (2003). Finland in the European Union. London: Routledge. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-7146-5375-4.
  12. ^ Eduskunta profile
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  14. ^ “Fortumin Uniper-kauppa vesittää puhtaat lupaukset”. Vihreät – De Gröna (in Finnish). 9 October 2017. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  15. ^ “Perustelut tiedustelulain kiirehtimiselle puuttuvat”. Vihreät – De Gröna (in Finnish). 31 January 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  16. ^ a b Rauli Mickelsson. Suomen puolueet – Historia, muutos ja nykypäivä. Vastapaino 2007, 429 pages.
  17. ^ “4.2 Suomi Euroopan Unionissa”.
  18. ^ “Composition of a certain government, 66. Lipponen”. Valtioneuvosto. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  19. ^ “Who is Pekka Haavisto? | Haavisto 2012 | nro. 2”. 11 January 2012. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2021.
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  22. ^ “Vihreät nousi toiseksi suurimmaksi puolueeksi ja sai parin kuukauden aikana 80 000 uutta äänestäjää – Puheenjohtaja Aalto: “Isoa liikehdintää tapahtuu”. Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). 28 August 2017. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
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  34. ^ Teivainen, Aleksi (14 September 2021). “Green League faces opposition for motion to legalise cannabis”. Helsinki Times. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  35. ^ “Green Party in Finland Calls for End of Prohibition”. High Times. 22 September 2021. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  36. ^ Verhelst, Koen (1 October 2022). “Party in Finland’s ruling coalition backs legalising cannabis”. Euronews. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  37. ^ “Results by party”. Ministry of Justice – Information and Result Service. 29 May 2019.
  38. ^ “Eduskuntavaalit 2015”. Yle. Retrieved 22 April 2015.

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