Municipal elections Scholars: The postponement of the election provided a space to discuss more than just the corona, dividing lines have emerged better

According to the Docent of General Political Science, the municipal election programs have mainly focused on municipal issues.

Coronary pandemic has stigmatized the municipal election debate and accelerated developments where campaigning has moved more online than before. According to the experts interviewed by STT, well – being themes have also been highlighted – Korona is also partly behind it.

Docent of General Political Science Hanna Wass The University of Helsinki praises the parties for the fact that, with the exception of basic Finns, they have remained in the boundary conditions of municipal election themes in their municipal election programs, even though municipal election programs describe municipalities if the party alone were to decide their own affairs.

“In practice, however, the importance of cooperation and compromises is emphasized in municipal decision-making,” he says.

Wass was involved in a study by the Municipal Sector Development Foundation that examined the parties’ support base and municipal election programs.

According to Wass the election programs show a government-opposition stance and, in addition, the parties seem to know their core voters well.

“Parties bring up the themes that appeal to their core community. But when it comes to attracting potential voters, you can’t just go in that own comfort zone, you have to make new openings, ”he says.

According to Wass, in their municipal election programs, the parties, in addition to their own supporters, think about what others have to offer and try to find their place through it as well.

Municipal elections the previous debate has also been marked by what municipalities look like after the sote reform.

“Municipal election programs are already thinking about life after the war. Municipal election programs discuss early childhood education, school, education in general, employment management, cultural services and the comfort of the living environment, ”says Wass.

Both Wass and a university lecturer in social psychology Katarina Pettersson They say from the University of Helsinki that the election campaign has seen a welfare theme this spring.

“We also highlighted in our study that these are emphatically welfare elections. The Korona and the economic problems it causes for otherwise cramped municipalities are one reason for this. There has been a lot of discussion about the role of municipalities as a provider of services and a provider of health-safe early childhood education and training, ”says Wass.

In addition, according to Pettersson, there has also been a lot of talk about how the Korona era has affected people’s well-being. Economic and fiscal issues have also been discussed.

Municipal elections were originally scheduled to take place in April, but were postponed to June due to the corona pandemic. Both experts estimate that the postponement of the municipal elections will not at least reduce people’s willingness to vote.

Wass says there is currently more room in the public to discuss municipal policy and other things than just the corona.

“Then, in April, the dividing lines between the parties might not have been so clear.”

There has also been a lot of discussion under the municipal elections about electoral harassment, including the blurring of election advertisements and inappropriate messages. Pettersson estimates that the increase in harassment is more broadly related to the intensification of conversational culture and general polarization.

“For a few years now, there has been talk that harassment is a big democratic problem and also contributes to people no longer daring to run for office. There is already research evidence on this, ”says Pettersson.

According to Wass, election interference can also lead to an increase in self-censorship.

“The worst thing, of course, is that you don’t want to run for office at all, but it’s also about what kind of campaigns you dare to do and what kind of questions you dare to raise. Many will probably have to calculate whether the risks outweigh the potential benefits, ”Wass says.

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