Finland’s largest-ever municipal initiative to be submitted to Helsinki’s new City Council on Monday, August 2, 2021

Seppo SipiläFor the press, News archive

The municipal initiative for a consultative referendum on the preservation of Malmi Airport for aviation use will be submitted to the newly elected Helsinki City Council on its first meeting day, Monday 2 August 2021. The initiative was launched by former Mayor of Helsinki Raimo Ilaskivi, Lex Malmi initiator Kim Korkkula and Timo Hyvönen, Chairman of the Friends of Malmi Airport Association.

By far Finland’s largest municipal initiative to date measures the new City Council’s perception of democracy and respect for its citizens. The initiative has a record number of supporters, already more than 30,000 Helsinki residents. This exceeds the requirement of the law by one and a half times. The vote is likely to take place already this year if the Council approves the initiative.

The outgoing political group leaders rejected the referendum

The chairmen of some council groups rejected the public referendum after it reached the statutory number of supporters, 22.000 Helsinki residents. The main reason given for rejecting the initiative was its subject matter. Consequently, the initiative will be submitted to the new council, which hopefully will respect the opinion of the people of Helsinki.

Timo Hyvönen, Chairman of the Friends of Malmi Airport Association, believes in the integrity of the new Council: “We are confident that the new delegates in Helsinki will respect the direct civic influence proposed by the citizens and Finnish law. None of Finland’s 100 referendums have been held in Helsinki. The decision cannot depend on the subject of the initiative, but must be based on the will of the residents. In this case, the amount of support required by law is well exceeded.”

More than half of the candidates are in favor of keeping Malmi Airport

According to voting guide websites, the majority of Helsinki candidates in the 2021 municipal elections are in favor of keeping Malmi Airport in aviation use. As many as 60% of the candidates of the National Coalition, Helsinki’s largest political party, are in favor of maintaining Malmi. 

Mr. Hyvönen has examined the candidates’ answers.

“The pretty promises of the parties’ political programs for direct civic democracy seem to depend on the subject. There is apparently no desire to allow a referendum on matters where the people could vote ‘wrong’. Now it is worth giving one’s vote to a candidate who respects the opinion of the citizens. ”

In addition to Iltalehti’s and YLE’s voting guide websites, the Friends of Malmi Airport Association has also asked for the opinions of Helsinki candidates about the future of the airport and the referendum as an instrument of direct democracy. With regard to Malmi Airport, Chairman Hyvönen encourages making the right choices:

“It is striking that the Greens are known to have only a couple of candidates who are in favor of keeping Malmi Airport in aviation use, despite the region’s significant natural and cultural values. According to published data, in the responses of the voting guide websites, more than half of the candidates are in favor of keeping Malmi Airport. Everyone can choose, according to their own values, a candidate who also cares about the significant natural values of Malmi Airport, its world-class cultural heritage and the future of Helsinki as aviation progresses in a new direction.“

The positions of Helsinki’s municipal election candidates on the continuation of Malmi Airport’s operations and the municipal referendum as an instrument of direct democracy can be found up-to-date at https://www.malmivaalit.fi (in Finnish). A list of candidates in favore of continuing the aviation activities will also be included in the MALMI ELECTIONS magazine distributed by mail to every household in Helsinki on Wednesday 26 May. The magazine (in Finnish) can also be read electronically on the website https://malmiairport.fi/kuntavaalit2021.