Finns vote in close election as Sanna Marin seeks second term as prime minister

Polling stations have opened in Finland, where three parties are expected to be in a close race as Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Social Democrats fight to secure a second term at the helm of government.

More than 2,400 candidates from 22 parties are competing for the 200 seats in the Nordic country’s parliament, the Eduskunta.

Ms Marin, who at 37 is one of Europe’s youngest leaders, has been praised for her cabinet’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and for her leading role, alongside President Sauli Niinisto , in defense of Finland’s successful application to join NATO.

election posters
Election posters in the capital Helsinki as Finns go to the polls (Sergei Grits/AP)

His vocal support for Ukraine in the past year has increased his international visibility.

While campaigning on the Saturday before the vote, he said: “Of course we hope that the Social Democrats win this election… It is very important because we want to remain an open society. We also want to work together internationally. We want to build a better, green and sustainable future where people have equal opportunities in life.

Ms Marin remains popular at home, but her party’s views on the Finnish economy, which emerged as the main issue of the campaign, were being challenged by two main opponents: the center-right National Coalition Party led by Petteri Orpo and right-wing populist The Finns. party, which is led by Riikka Purra.

Also campaigning on Saturday, Orpo said: “The most important thing in the next government is to fix our economy, boost economic growth, balance the public economy. And the second very important issue is to build NATO-Finland”.

man throws a ball
A man casts his ballot at a polling station in Turku, Finland (Sergei Grits/AP)

Ms Purra stressed that Finns will focus on shaping Finland’s migration, climate, crime and energy policies if the populist party becomes a partner in the next government.

“We also want to toughen our attitude towards the European Union,” he said before the vote.

Recent polls have indicated that each of the three parties could get around 20% of the vote. If that happens, neither party would be in a position to form a government alone; Whichever wins the most votes is expected to start talks on forming a governing coalition.

Finland, which is expected to join NATO in the coming weeks, is a member of the European Union with a population of 5.5 million.

Polls close at 5 pm local time, with initial results expected at midnight.


Leave a Reply