The race for the next Finnish government has seen the battle between left and right playing out in binary. The centre-left Social Democratic Party and populist Finns Party have been neck-and-neck in the polls. Whoever wins will likely have to form a coalition, which will define the political landscape of the country for the coming years.
When will we know the results?
Polls opened at 9am local time (7am BST) and close at 8pm (6pm BST).
Early voting is popular – over 1.5 million people, or 36 percent of eligible voters, have already cast their ballots in advance.
The results of that early vote will be published as soon the polls have closed, and fuller preliminary results are expected a few hours later.
Who will win?
According to the polls, Finland could be about to usher in its first leftist prime minister in two decades, in what would be a major win for the integrity of the European Union.
The Social Democrats have sought to portray themselves as reliable custodians of Finland’s extensive welfare state, making clear they are willing to raise taxes to maintain public services.
Party leader Antti Rinne told national broadcaster Yle: “We have to ensure that those in the worst situation in society, they are the ones we help first.”
But if opinions polls are correct, the Social Democrats’ ability to govern may be hampered by a surge in support for the Finns Party, a nationalist group riding a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment sweeping the Nordics.
A recent poll commissioned by public broadcaster Yle showed the Social Democrats could win the top spot with 19 percent of the vote, giving their leader, Antti Rinne, the first shot at forming a government.
The Finns are running a close second with 16.3 percent support, after making rapid gains since the start of this year when a series of cases of sexual abuse of minors by foreign men emerged.
With the European Parliament election less than two months away, the Finnish ballot is being watched in Brussels.
A strong result for the Finns Party could bolster a nationalist bloc threatening to shake up EU policy-making.
Finland is also about to take on the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU in July.
Whoever forms the next government will face challenges both abroad and at home.
There is the matter of the country’s abandoned reform of the health care provision, which the previous two governments tried but failed to deliver, and needs to be revisited.