Monday, May 02, 2011

TULI ISO JYTKY!...A taste of Finnish Politics

If you don't happen to closely follow Finnish politics, I'll give you a brief run-down on the current political climate...

Timo Soini, leader of the True Finns
Parliament elections took place the weekend I arrived in Helsinki. You might remember the Swedish-speaking Finnish men's choir I met on the way.  They were nervously checking their phones all night as the votes trickled in, and the reactions were not positive.  The ultra-conservative "True Finns" party gained 35 seats, a huge increase from the three they already had.  I don't have a complete picture of their agenda; but I've gathered bits and pieces of public opinion from conversations with people I've met here.  It seems that I've been meeting the most liberal Finns around, however, because no one I've met has been a True Finn sympathizer.  (Although one guy said he was embarrassed to admit that his dad voted for them.)


Here's my take on it; the Finnish people with whom I've spoken at length fall into either the under 30 segment of the population or the Swedish minority. Even though these Swedish-speaking people have been living here for hundreds of years -- one man told me his Swedish-speaking family has been here for 9 generations! -- the True Finns want to wipe out public funding for anything Swedish-related or contemporary, and instead focus all resources on bringing back traditional Finnish culture and "Finnish values" (which no one has yet been able to specify for me).  Another popular complaint is that they are completely against immigration and want to close all the borders.

This brings me to my main point (or, rather, Soini's main point)...
TULI ISO JYTKY!
These were the opening words of Timo Soini's victory speech after the elections. Soini is the leader of the True Finns and will surely be serving as a minister of some sort in the coalition government that is now under construction.  For those of you that are interested, click here to find out how Finland's next coalition government will be formed over the next few weeks.

Soini's now-famous words, including "jytky" - which he invented - were immortalized in 75-pt. headlines on the front page of Finnish newspapers in the days following the elections and have spawned a collection of viral YouTube videos (like the one below, which has been on repeat in our apartment).
The sound bite in the beginning says..
Reporter: Hey, what are you going to say?
Soinin: You'll hear inside. But we're definitely starting with big "jytky." 



As I mentioned before, "jytky" is a word that Soini made up. The closest translation is probably "surprise," but in context I think the phrase "Tuli iso jytky" is more or less "It's a big coup!" -- referring, of course, to the 35 seats the party gained, putting them in third place in parliament.  Now "Jytky" has become a sort of nickname for Soinin, and now we're inserting it into daily speech. Where before we might've said "Oh, shoot," now we say "Oi, jytky."



ELECTION RESULTS BREAKDOWN 
National Coalition Party 44 seats (-6) 20.4%
Social Democratic Party 42 (-3) 19.1%
True Finns 39 (+34) 19.0%
Centre Party 35 (-16) 15.8%
Left Alliance 14 (-3) 8.1%
Greens 10 (-5) 7.2%
Swedish People's Party 9 (0) 4.3%
Christian Democrats 6 (-1) 4.0%
Others 1 (0) 2.0%

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