Conservatives set for victory in Parliament elections in Finland

Jyrki Katainen

Finland's Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen from the National Coalition at an EPP summit in Helsinki, March 2011. [Mauri Ratilainen/Flickr]

The conservative National Coalition is taking a clear lead over other political parties in Finland in the Parliament elections, according to the latest poll published by the public broadcaster Yle on Thursday (22 May).

The National Coalition, the lead government party, is likely to get 22.7% of votes in the elections on Sunday, up 1.1% since a similar poll in March. This will secure the conservative party four seats in the Parliament, one seat more than in 2009. Meanwhile the Centre Party and the nationalist Finns would receive 17.6% and 17.1% of voter backing, respectively.

The poll’s biggest loser is the Social Democratic Party, which claimed fourth place in the vote with 13.8% of the votes, a slipping of 2.5 percentage points since the same poll was conducted two months ago.

Since March, the Finnish government has unveiled its draft austerity budget and in May the Social Democratic Party’s party leader Jutta Urpilainen was replaced by Antti Rinne.

Since the last poll, Finland’s Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen also announced that he will be giving up his post this summer, along with the chairmanship of the National Coalition. Katainen said that he would be interested in becoming Finland’s next EU commissioner after the European elections.

In another poll by a group of four regional dailies, European and Foreign Trade Minister Alexander Stubb is leading the race to become the next chair of the National Coalition. Stubb is currently also running for a seat in the European Parliament.

If the latest predictions are correct, the Centre Party would bag three MEP positions, while the Finns party and Social Democrats would each seat two MEPs. Voters would send just one Green and one Left Alliance candidate each to Brussels.

Riikka Slunga-Poutsalo, party secretary of the Finns, the country’s populist party told Reuters, her party aims to get three seats after Sunday’s election.

“The starting point for us in Finland is to avoid the mistakes that Germany and Britain have made with immigration. We are critical towards allowing Finnish social security for all immigrants,” she said.

On 22-25 May, all 28 EU member states will hold elections for the European Parliament.

Across Europe, parties are gearing up to go head-to-head on unemployment, euroscepticism and the future of the European Union.

  • 25 May: European Parliament elections in Finland.

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