Finland’s right-wing populist Finns Party has made some of the biggest gains in the country’s municipal elections, according to initial results.
Coming on top was the liberal-conservative National Coalition Party with 21.5% support, an increase of 0.8% compared to the 2017 municipal elections.
However, the greatest leap was made by the Finns Party, which coming in at 14.5% of the vote, increased its support by 5.7% since 2017.
Neither party has seats in the current five-party government, but given the results, the opposition look set to gain momentum in the parliament also.
Witnessing losses were Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Social Democrats, down by 1.8% to 17.6% and the Greens, with a fall of 1.6% to 10.9%. The Left Alliance’s result also showed a 0.8% fall to 8%. The traditionally strong, rural-based Centre Party came in on 14.7%, a decrease in its vote share of 2.8%.
Councillors are elected in 293 municipalities every four years, but this year the elections were postponed from April until June because of the pandemic.
According to the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (Supo), the elections were marred by growing harassment, online hate speech and vandalism. Posters were defaced and some of the 35,600 candidates even experienced physical violence. (Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)