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Monday's papers: Vapaavuori's vote mountain, migrant candidates' success, and Soini's swansong

The local elections dominate the papers on Monday morning, with a win for the National Coalition, mayoral races across the country, and migrant candidates' success in the headlines.

Kokoomuksen puheenjohtaja Petteri Orpo onnittelee puolueen ääniharavaa ja pormestariehdokasta Jan Vapaavuorta kokoomuksen vaalivalvojaisissa kuntavaalien vaalipäivänä ravintola Maxinessa Helsingissä 9. huhtikuuta.
NCP leader Petteri Orpo congratulates his party's star, and the country's biggest vote-getter, Jan Vapaavuori. Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva

There was one big winner in Sunday's election: Jan Vapaavuori. The NCP big-hitter almost single-handedly gave his party an election victory, drawing more than 15,000 votes (more than anyone else in the country) and ensuring he managed to take the newly-created position of Helsinki Mayor.

Helsingin Sanomat spoke to the man himself, asking what's important to him in his vision for the capital.

"One thing is an understanding of the position of the capital city," said Vapaavuori, adding that it's "not acceptable" for Helsinki to lose jobs or direct investment to Stockholm or Oslo.

HS also has some rather startling statistics. Vapaavuori took 9.1 percent of all votes in Helsinki, and if he were a party he would have been the fifth biggest in this election. The mayoral race apparently had a big impact on the final figures.

Tampere on tenterhooks

If the mayoral election in Helsinki is clear-cut and settled, Tampere's mayoralty is anything but. Aamulehti reports that there is no agreement among the parties on how the new mayor will be picked. In Helsinki the party with the most votes gets the gig, but in Tampere the negotiations and vote are wide open.

The situation isn't helped by the fact that the SDP did not pick a mayoral candidate ahead of the vote, leaving them free to pick from a selection of candidates interested in the post. Trade union boss Lauri Lyly, MP Jukka Gustafsson and deputy mayor Atanas Aleksovski are all possibilities, but once negotiations begin, anything can happen.

AL reports that those talks will start from 10am on Monday morning.

Soini's soundbite success

It was a humbling night for the Finns Party, with the party down some 3.5 percent on their 2012 result, but outgoing leader Timo Soini took the opportunity to show his talent for crafting a memorable quote. He created the term "jytky" for big election success, which is now firmly established in the Finnish political lexicon, and has turned his blog into an endless stream of folksy, regional dialect-infused  insults for Finland's red-green urban elitists.

This time his election assessment was "turpaan tuli mutta henki jai", which roughly translates as "we got a bloody nose but we're still alive".  That got a rousing reception from the party faithful at their election party, and gave Ilta-Sanomat an easy front page.

His successor (either MP Sampo Terho or MEP Jussi Halla-aho) has big boots to fill if they want similar powers to craft a media narrative.

New Finns elected

Candidates from a migrant background made a breakthrough in Finnish local elections, with several new Finns taking up positions as local councillors following Sunday's vote.

Turkey-born Ozan Yanar of the Green Party and Suldaan Said Ahmed, a Finn born in Somalia, were both elected despite suffering racist abuse and death threats in the lead-up to the vote.

Helsingin Sanomat reports that in Espoo Habiba Ali, a single mother of seven who moved to Finland from Somalia when she was five, was elected on the SDP list. Ali tells HS that she wants Espoo to be a place for everyone, young and old.

As a working single mother of seven, she has plenty on her plate. But how does she keep all the plates spinning?

"You have to know how to co-ordinate everything," she tells HS. "And I have a wonderful Mum, who helps a lot with the kids."

First feminists elected

Although it's relatively common for Finnish politicians to describe themselves as feminists, up until last year there was not a dedicated feminist party. On Sunday they got their first councillor when Katju Aro, the party leader, made it through in Helsinki.

HBL is among the papers carrying the news, noting that the party got some 6,000 votes. The Pirate Party also made a breakthrough, with two councillors elected overall, including leader Petrus Pennanen with some 1,300 votes (and with a helping hand from the Liberals, who had formed a joint list with the Pirates).

The election marked something of a changing of the guard among the smaller parties, with the capital's longstanding communist councillor, Yrjö Hakanen, failing to get re-elected.

Zero votes club

Ilta-Sanomat has an amusing story about the country's most incompetent politicians. That is to say, those who could not persuade anyone to vote for them--not even themselves.

The zero votes club has 32 members this year, including 13 Finns Party members. Six of those Finns Party no-hopers were in Kuusamo, a rural north-eastern municipality.

In Keuruu there was a surprising success for Tuomo Kyllästinen, an SDP candidate who did not even vote for himself, got zero votes, but still managed to become an alternative, or reserve councillor.

You can check the results via Yle's results service (in Finnish) or the Justice Ministry website (in English).

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