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The 1999 Finnish parliamentary election was held on March 21, 1999. Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen's Social Democrats remained the largest party of the Eduskunta, despite significant losses. Hence, Lipponen remained Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen's five-party "rainbow government" (Social Democrats, National Coalitioners, Left Alliance, Swedish People's Party and Greens) had been in power since April 1995. It had managed to keep Finland's economy growing, to reduce the state's budget deficit and to create jobs, although it had failed to halve the unemployment rate: in 1995, the unemployment had been 15.4 per cent and in 1999, it still stood at 10.2 per cent. This was, as the governing parties pointed out, still a better record than the previous centre-right government's performance: during its term (1991 to 1995), the unemployment had risen from 6.6 per cent to 15.4 per cent. The largest opposition party, Centrists, tried to become the largest party overall, and to re-join the government. They called for a work reform, which they claimed would make it easier for employers to hire new employees and for small enterprises to operate. Finland's largest labour unions rejected the proposed work reform, claiming that it would reduce the employees' job security and would excessively increase the employers' power. The Centrists also accused the government of not improving the Finnish economy enough, and of not slowing down sufficiently the large internal migration of Finns from the rural towns and small cities to the large economic growth centres, like the Helsinki and Tampere regions. Several parties hired as their candidates previously non-political or only locally politically active celebrities, such as Leena Harkimo, the manager of Helsinki's ice hockey team Jokerit, Lasse Virén, a former long-distance running Olympic champion, and Anni Sinnemäki, the songwriter of pop music group Ultra Bra. Some of these celebrities got elected. After the elections, Prime Minister Lipponen formed a new government of the same five parties. Only one of those parties left the government during the parliamentary term 1999-2003: the Greens moved into the opposition in May 2002, when the Parliament approved the construction of Finland's fifth nuclear power plant (see, for example, Hannakatri Hollmén et al., eds., What Where When 2000 - The Citizen's Yearbook / Mitä Missä Milloin 2000 - Kansalaisen vuosikirja, Helsinki: Otava, 1999, pages 208-211, 240-241; Jukka Hartikainen et al., eds., What Where When 2003 - The Citizen's Yearbook / Mitä Missä Milloin 2003 - Kansalaisen vuosikirja, Helsinki: Otava, 2002, pages 115-116; www.stat.fi/tup/suoluk/suoluk_tyoelama.html#tyottomyys).
|Invalid votes||28,804||+6 123|
|Party||MPs||Votes||MPs %/votes % & swing|
|Social Democratic Party of Finland||51||−12||22.86%||−5.4||612,963||−172,674||1,120,00|
|National Coalition Party||46||+7||21.03%||+3.1||563,835||+66,211||1,090,00|
|Swedish People's Party||11||--||5.12%||−0.0||137,330||−5,544||1,070,00|
|Christian League of Finland||10||+3||4.17%||+1.2||111,835||+29,524||1,200,02|
|Communist Party of Finland||0.76%||–||20,442||–|
|Kirjava ”Puolue” – Elonkehän Puolesta||−1||0.39%||+0.1||10,378||+2,513|
|League for Free Finland||0.38%||−0.6||10,104||−17,963|
|Pensioners for People||0.20%||+0.0||5,451||+327|
|Liberal People's Party||0.19%||−0.4||5,194||−11,053|
|Pensioners Party of Finland||0.17%||+0.0||4,481||+507|
|Natural Law Party||0.15%||−0.1||3,903||−2,916|
|For Peace and Socialism – Communist Workers' Party||0.13%||−0.0||3,455||−1,329|
|a Compared with the result of Rural Party of Finland.
b Liberals for Åland (5 870 votes, Ahvenanmaa constituency)
|Source: Tilastokeskus 2004|