Finns will vote for a new Prime Minister and a new government in this weekend’s general election. The results will be announced on Sunday April 14. While one party looks to be ahead in the polls none has got the backing of more than 20 per cent of voters – an unusual situation according to analysts.
Finland’s general election is being held in exceptional circumstances.
The entire the government resigned over failed promises on the country’s ailing healthcare system.
While the current Prime Minister Juha Sipila will stay on while the country picks its next leader, the results are unpredictable.
Who will win Finland’s election?
According to a Ylle poll on April 11, the Social Democrat Party is currently leading the polls with 19 per cent support.
The SDP is followed by the Nationalist Finns Party which is ranking in second place with 16.3 percent support.
Then the centre-right National Coalition Party (NCP)is in third place with 15.9 per cent in the polls.
If Finland’s Social Democrats win the general election on Sunday, it will be for the first time in 20 years.
The party has pledged to raise taxes to fund the country’s generous welfare system as it struggles to cope with a rapidly ageing population.
Antti Rinne’s Social Democrats have led in the polls for almost a year, with many Finns concerned over the future of public services and welfare due partly to the cost of caring for its growing ranks of pensioners.
“We need to strengthen our welfare society – and that needs money,” Rinne, a former union strong man, told Reuters in an interview ahead of parliamentary elections on Sunday.
The last time the left-leaning Social Democratic Party (SDP) won a general election was in 1999, although it has been a junior partner in different government coalitions since then.
It topped the most recent opinion poll with 19.0 per cent support, Finland’s public broadcaster Yle reported on Thursday.
But the party would still need to build a coalition to form a stable government.
“We need to spread our tax base and we need to strengthen it. That’s a big policy change here in Finland if we do that,” Rinne said.
One of Rinne’s election promises has been to increase all state pensions of less than 1,400 euros per month by 100 euros, a reform worth 700 million euros that would help “more than 55,000 pensioners escape poverty”, he said.
But taxpayers’ solvency might have its limits in the coming years, not only due to the increasing costs of caring for a rapidly ageing population but also because Finland will have to spend an estimated 7-10 billion euros on renewing its equally ageing fighter jet fleet.
To Rinne’s disappointment the nationalist Finns Party is currently ranking second in the polls.
The Finns Party has made significant gains, ahead of the SDP’s traditional opponent, the centre-right National Coalition in the latest Yle poll.
If the SDP wins on Sunday, then it will have to team up with at least one of its main rivals such as the National Coalition’s chair and finance minister Petteri Orpo – who has called the party’s economic policies “irresponsible” – or with Sipila’s Centre Party, to be able to form a majority government.
SDP leader Rinne has ruled out forming a government with the nationalists led by Jussi Halla-aho, an anti-immigration hardliner, who was fined by the Supreme Court in 2012 for blog comments linking Islam to paedophilia and Somalis to theft.
Finland is facing a rare minority government as the current three-party coalition government is controlling a slim majority in parliament with 104 of 200 seats.
The winner of this year’s elections will need at least 101 MPs to form a new government.