On Sunday Finland elected 200 members to their parliament.
The winning party, the Centre, only got 49 of these seats. The Finns managed to get 38, the National Coalition got 37 and the Social Democrats got 34. A range of other parties got the rest of the seats.
In Britain the chances of the ‘winning’ party getting less than a quarter of the seats is unthinkable. To be fair Finland has a proportional voting system, which makes multi-party politics much more of a reality, however, with Britain just weeks away from another likely hung parliament, Finland, and indeed the rest of Europe is somewhere we can look to for the future of British politics.
But back to Finland, a two party coalition is impossible. One with three or more parties looks more likely, something very similar to what could happen in May in the UK.
But in Finland this is a regular occurrence. Multi-party coalitions are much more normal than in the UK. Following the UK’s election, the country will be faced a with a new situation, one where it is incredibly likely that more than three parties are needed to form (or support) a government. In Finland this is much more normal and it’s not a total disaster.
The lessons we can learn from Finland and other European countries is that ‘hung parliaments’ and multi-party agreements can work and can last.
Britain is potentially entering into a new era of politics, but at least the country can look elsewhere to see that it is not alone.