HELSINKI – Chasm opens between main government parties

A poll published on Thursday (4 June) shows that the popularity of the government’s two main parties is moving in opposite directions, which could lead to growing tensions once politics return to normal, as well as the possible break-up of the country’s five-party government.

According to the poll commissioned by the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE), 23.3% of those surveyed support the Social Democrats, a rise of 1.1% from a month ago.

According to researchers, the party’s popularity stems from the handling of the coronavirus crisis and the good communication skills of Prime Minister Sanna Marin. Since she took the office six months ago, the SDP has gained about ten percentage points in popularity.   

However, the story looks quite different for the coalition government’s right-wing, which also has a young female party leader.  

The Centre Party, chaired by Finance Minister Katri Kulmuni polled a mere 10.7%. The 1.5%  drop and fall behind the Greens (11.9%) now put the party in the fifth spot. Presumably, the Centre Party is losing voters to the main opposition party, the far-right Finns Party on 18.1%.

In recent days, the Centre Party has positioned itself to be more critical of the government’s economic stimulus measures which will significantly increased the country’s indebtedness.

“The Centre Party will not sit in a government which does not follow credible economic policy,” Antti Kurvinen, the Chair of the Centre Party’s parliamentary group told YLE in an interview.

A real test will come when the government is forced to make decisions on structural changes, cuts in public services and taxation. (Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)

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