01:10 GMT13 May 2021
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    Criticism of Donald Trump commonly focuses on his track record on international agreements, human rights, and his positions on extremism, hate speech and fake news. At the same time, Trump has received praise for his anti-war stance and contribution to Middle East negotiations.

    The majority of Finnish MPs said that US President Donald Trump's first term has not been good for their country.

    Wholly 89 out of 140 surveyed MPs shared this opinion in a survey by national broadcaster Yle. 19 other MPs said Trump has been good for Finland, and another 32 were undecided.

    Trump's glaring unpopularity peaked with the left-of-the-centre parties. Not a single respondent from the Green League said Trump's term benefited Finland in any way, and only one MP among the Left Alliance and the Swedish People's Party each was undecided.

    The most common gripe Finnish MPs had with US leader is his perceived “bad influence” on international agreements, including the Paris Agreement on climate action, the UN Human Rights Council as well as nuclear agreements with Iran and Russia.

    “Trump has brought instability to the world. This instability has also affected Europe and Finland. His foreign policy is difficult to predict and disjointed. His actions are steered by the concept of 'America first',” Anneli Kiljunen of the Social Democratic party explained to Yle.

    Outi Alanko-Kahiluoto of the Green Alliance cited Trump's policies on human rights as a negative factor.

    “Trump has pursued policies that are hostile to human rights that harm the entire planet and its people. Chauvinism, indifference to the poor and the oppressed and always blaming others are Trump personified. Here is the world champion in bad examples for the young people of the world,” Alanko-Kahiluoto explained.

    Antti Kurvinen of the the Centre Party emphasised the economic impact of Trump's presidency, calling it erratic.

    “Uncertain, muddled global and economic policies are not good for an export-reliant Finland. Trump's negative attitude toward free trade has been a major problem for Finland. Nordic companies also need free trade,” Kurvinen stated.

    Swedish People's Party MP Eva Biaudet suggested Trump has affected the political rhetoric in a detrimental way.

    “Trump's term has been like an engine for right-wing extremist movements and for hate speech that incites violence,” Biaudet said, suggesting that Trump “legitimised” the dissemination of false information.

    Ben Zyskowicz of the National Coalition Party went so far as to call Trump a “jerk”.

    By contrast, most of the pro-Trumpers came from the national-conservative Finns Party, followed by the Christian Democrats, who praised Trump for boosting defence cooperation with Finland. Some Finns Party MPs, such as Veikko Vallin, emphasised specifically that Trump has been a peaceful president and hasn't started wars, unlike his predecessors. Another common source of praise was the improved situation in the Middle East following Trump's contribution to negotiations between Israel and the Arab world.

    “For his contributions in the Middle East, Trump is worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize,” Vallin emphasised.

    Christian Democrat Peter Östman praised Trump for bringing political relations with Finland to an unseen level of proximity.

    At the same time, many from the right and the left alike said that Finland needs to maintain workable relations with the US, regardless of who wins the presidency. Some even ventured that it doesn't particularly matter whether Trump or Biden emerges victorious. 

    Nationwide, a 2018 poll placed Trump as the most disliked politician among Finns, surpassing even Vladimir Putin, who is often portrayed as a foe. Merely 6 percent of Finns described their attitudes towards Trump as favourable. By contrast, the percentage of those with a negative viewpoint reached 83 percent.


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    United States, Donald Trump, Scandinavia, Finland
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