Finland election: Leftist party tipped to win vote


14th April, 2019 04:20:34 printer

Finland election: Leftist party tipped to win vote


Finland is tipped to turn left in Sunday's election, with the Social Democrats leading in polls.

Should they be successful, the country will have its first left-wing leader in 20 years.

But with several parties, including the right-wing Finns, jostling closely for second place, their ability to govern could be curtailed and coalition-building lies ahead.

How did we get here?

Last month, former Prime Minister Juha Sipila's government resigned over its failure to achieve a key policy goal on social welfare and healthcare reform. His Centre Party had been in a centre-right coalition government since the last parliamentary elections in 2015.

Concerned about Finland's expensive welfare system in the face of an ageing population, Mr Sipila made tackling the nation's debt one of his government's main aims, introducing planning reforms he hoped would save up to €3bn (£2.6bn) over a decade.

Polls ahead of Sunday's vote showed the Social Democrats, who campaigned on a pledge to strengthen Finland's welfare system, leading by several percentage points. The party had been in front for almost a year.

The party's leader, Antti Rinne, earlier described Mr Sipila's policies as unfair, and said taxes needed to be raised to combat inequality.

How is the vote likely to pan out?

Voting booths are now open and will close at 20:00 local time (17:00 GMT). The first results are due shortly after.

The Social Democrats are widely tipped to become largest party, but under Finland's proportional representation system, they may have to form a coalition with several other parties.

While the Finns Party has seen its support grow, many other parties do not want to work with them.