Finnish people will choose their next prime minister and government this week but current indications show the results could be complicated. Unlike many of its Nordic neighbours, Finland does not usually have minority governments but the political situation is unpredictable after a chaotic few weeks. The entire Finnish government resigned last month after reneging on a promise to reform the under-pressure healthcare system. Prime Minister Juha Sipila and his government said they would stay on in a caretaker capacity until the elections this month.
His Centre Party had been in power since 2015, and formed a centre-right coalition with the National Coalition and Blue Reform since 2017.
When is the Finnish election?
Elections will be held this Sunday on April 14, which this year is the same date as Palm Sunday.
A succession of recent polls shows the Social Democrats have the highest support despite a two percent lead drop to 19.6 and 19.5 percent respectively in the last two polls.
The left-wing party’s success has been propelled by the healthcare crisis, including a care home scandal featuring reports of elderly patients being left in soaked diapers through the night.
The Social Democrats, under leader Antti Rinne, has also promised to raise taxes and reduce income inequality.
One of its campaign proposals is to set limits on healthcare privatisation, in contrast to the previous government’s plan for it to become more widespread.
But who are the other candidates and parties?
There are 10 parties vying for seats in 200-member parliamentary assembly.
The party is just behind the Social Democrats in terms of popularity, scoring 17.7 percent of the poll vote conducted by Kantar TNS between April 3 and 7.
Led by Petteri Orpo, the party is pro-European Union and free market, plus an advocate of lower labour taxes.
The nationalist and anti-immigration party has swelled in popularity after reports of sexual abuse against children by foreigners.
In recent polls, the conservative party has moved between second and third place under Jussi Halla-aho’s leadership.
The aforementioned Centre Party has not completely slipped out of contention but is unlikely to command any real majority, sitting in fourth place with a vote share of 14.4 percent.
Pekka Haavisto’s party is committed to tackling climate change and fighting inequality.
A socialist party led by Li Andersson, the Left Alliance has campaigned for a basic income for everyone and believes in higher taxes to combat wage inequality.
Other parties with a much smaller margin are:
Swedish People’s Party led by Anna-Maja Henriksson is centre-right, free market-pro party committed to reducing taxes and spending more on education.
Christian Democrats – a Christian-led party led by Sari Essayah.
Blue Reform – The party had been part of the recent government coalition but faces electoral disaster under Sampo Terho.