In Finland, the Somalis are the largest and the most integrated immigrant community. They are leading the minority African community in Finnish politics. Unarguably, they are the face of immigrants from African backgrounds in mainstream Finnish politics.
There are 11 city councillors and about 5 deputy councillors from Somali backgrounds spread across many municipalities in Finland. Their feat in Finnish politics can be attributed to their population advantage and a good level of integration powered by language skills which many of them possess.
According to the statistics on Wikipedia, the number of Somalis living in Finland is 24,647. They are one of the largest ethnic minorities in Finland and the largest group of people of non-European origin.
Despite the population advantage and huge potential; division, hate, lack of unity and tribal bigotry still plaque the Somali community which is also prevalent in other African communities and that’s what played out in the just concluded Parliamentary election where MP Suldaan Said Ahmed was denied a seat in the Parliament by his own people.
Sadly, we would not have someone from African background in the Parliament in the next four years because Bella Forsgrén of the Greens who happens to be the country’s first Black woman member of the Parliament does not identify with the Africans in Finland like Suldaan Ahmed, maybe because she was adopted.
Suldaan Ahmed became Finland’s first Somali-background Member of Parliament by God’s providence when he replaced outgoing MP, Paavo Arhinmäki. What the Somali community should have done is use their collective votes to ensure that Ahmed returns to Parliament. By this, they would have made a statement with the strength of their population and if he doesn’t represent well then another person could take his place in the next election.
The Parliamentary election is the most important in Finland. It takes collective and communal efforts for one to scale through. The Helsinki area is the focal point of all elections in Finland because that’s where you get the highest number of votes. During the 2019 Parliamentary election, three Somalis in the Helsinki area pulled up a total of 5402 votes: Husu Abdirahim1989, Suldaan Ahmed 2492 and Zahra. If there was a consensus candidate one of them would have made it to the Parliament. In the 2023 Parliamentary election, three Somalis also contested in the Helsinki area which cost Suldaan Ahmed his return. Experienced politician, Zahra Abdulla of the Left Alliance shared the votes in the Left Alliance camp and ended up garnering 854 votes, Mahad Ahmed (SDP) got 2021 votes while Suldaan Ahmed struggled with 1658 votes which is 834 below what he had in 2019.
This year, the sum total of their votes is 4533 which is less than what three Somalis got in 2019 due to the division and animosity across the political divide. The votes they got are wasted votes because none of the trio was elected. They just helped their political parties for nothing.
People of immigrant background are the biggest losers in the election which results indicate two possible government coalitions, one option could be the right-wing government built around the axis of the NCP and the Finns Party which is anti-immigration while the NCP and SDP parley still an alternative.
It is still a shock that Suldaan Ahmed did not return to Parliament but the fact remains that he is still Finland’s first Somali-background Member of Parliament