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Society

Dan Koivulaakso, Left Alliance candidate for Helsinki City Council

Election Talk gives candidates running in the municipal elections a chance to discuss their views on the increasingly international aspect of Finnish society, as well as how this will affect their work if they are elected. Voting will take place on 9 April 2017, with advance voting between 29 March and 4 April. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Helsinki Times.

After two years in power, governments usually have a midterm evaluation in order to make adjustments to their policies. The purpose of this is to see how the goals set forth in the government’s program can be achieved.

Ville Kohvakka, Swedish People's Party of Finland

Election Talk gives candidates running in the municipal elections a chance to discuss their views on the increasingly international aspect of Finnish society, as well as how this will affect their work if they are elected. Voting will take place on 9 April 2017, with advance voting between 29 March and 4 April.

In a global economy, cities are becoming more and more important, both culturally and financially. Cities are truly global centers of encounter. As a candidate in the municipal elections, I see the connection between Helsinki and the rest of the world as one of the most important questions in our near future. Helsinki must be a city where people from overseas can move to as easily as possible. We need a labor force and skilled experts to strengthen the economy. In return, we must allow people to be a part of Finnish society. Housing must be available for a reasonable price, and families should be able to find healthcare, daycare, primary schools, and other forms of education with ease. This is a fair deal. Helsinki needs to be developed into a true international hub where everybody from everywhere is welcome.

Nora Lindström, Helsinki Green Party

Election Talk gives candidates running in the municipal elections a chance to discuss their views on the increasingly international aspect of Finnish society, as well as how this will affect their work if they are elected. Voting will take place on 9 April 2017, with advance voting between 29 March and 4 April.

Immigrants in Finland have the right to take free language classes as part of their integration process. Usually in Helsinki, these classes involve learning Finnish, the more widely spoken of the country’s two national languages. It was only a few years ago that immigrants gained the right to choose to learn Finland’s minority language, Swedish. As I learnt when my own husband immigrated here in 2015, however, this option is rarely presented, and few foreigners are aware of it themselves. I want to change this.

Kristiina Drotár, Espoo Christian Democrats

Election Talk gives candidates running in the municipal elections a chance to discuss their views on the increasingly international aspect of Finnish society, as well as how this will affect their work if they are elected. Voting will take place on 9 April 2017, with advance voting between 29 March and 4 April.

Times are changing. By 2030, one quarter of the capital area’s inhabitants will be of foreign origin. Many of these new citizens are highly educated and their professional skills need to be fully utilized in society. Immigration should be seen as a great resource, being something that will bring new talent and creativity to Finland.

In 2015, 32,476 asylum seekers arrived in Finland, most of them from Iraq. What happened to them and where did they go? How did they experience the waiting period? What can be expected of them regarding their position in Finnish society and the labor market? A new study addresses some of those questions.