Climate change dominates parliamentary polls in Finland
Climate change dominates parliamentary polls in Finland
If the Social Democrats win the top spot their leader Antti Rinne would have the first shot at forming a government
17 April, 2019, 12:40
The electoral districts will announce the results of the election recount on Wednesday, 17 April.
The conservative National Coalition Party, which is in the outgoing center-right governing coalition, is neck-and-neck in second with the far-right Finns Party at around 16-17 percent.
Finland voted today in a general election in which the Social Democratic Party appeared set to topple the centre-right government after four years of spending cuts, with the far-right predicted to make large gains.
Most political observers said the election's outcome means if Rinne is named prime minister-designate, he likely would try to form a broad-based majority government with the National Coalition party or a combination of the Center Party and smaller parties such as the Greens. On Sunday, queues were reported at some polling stations in the capital.
The Finns Party is part of an alliance that hopes to become the strongest faction in the European Union legislature and to radically transform EU policies on migration, families and the environment. The prognosis said the Social Democrats would get 40 seats, the populist Finns Party would have 39 seats, and the conservative National Coalition Party, 38.
The election followed a campaign in which concerns about climate change even overshadowed the issue of how to reform the nation's generous welfare model.
After an election, the party that attracts the most votes typically tries to a new government with other parties as partners.
The party is the only group in Finland - a country that has the highest air quality in the world, according to the World Health Organisation - to argue the next government should not speed up cutting carbon emissions to combat climate change.
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Yet the Social Democratic Party may face tough economic conditions in which to implement its anti-austerity promises: many economic forecasts suggest Finland's GDP growth will slow in the coming years.
More than 1.5 million people - 34.5 per cent of the total - voted in advance of the parliamentary elections on Sunday under a system put in place in 1970 to encourage participation.
SDP Chairman Antti Rinne, as leader of the largest party, will have first shot at forming a government, and at becoming the first left-wing prime minister in Finland since 2003.
The anti-immigration Finns Party also decries the "climate hysteria" of other parties seeking action against global warming.
"Rinne has been pretty clear that there are substantial ideological differences between the Social Democrats and the Finns Party".
The Finns Party's stance on environmental policies, which includes opposing a proposed tax on meat consumption, appeals to rural voters in particular who worry about soaring fuel costs and resent any efforts to change what they see as the traditional Finnish way of life.
Reform has been controversial in Finland and plans to cut costs and boost efficiency have stalled for years, leaving older voters anxious about the future.
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