The Centre, the National Coalition and the Social Democrats are practically neck and neck heading into next month’s municipal elections, indicates an opinion poll commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat.
The poll found that popular support for the Social Democrats stands currently at 19.9 per cent, that for the Centre at 19.6 per cent and that for the National Coalition at 19.0 per cent.
Such a result would be satisfactory for the Centre, the Green League and the Left Alliance, but quite the opposite for the Social Democrats, views Kimmo Grönlund, a professor of political science at Åbo Akademi University. “For the SDP, this would be a miserable result,” he tweeted on Saturday.
Helsingin Sanomat also reported that as many as 43 per cent of respondents indicated that they would abstain from voting altogether or were either unable or unwilling to disclose how they would vote in the municipal elections on 9 April. A total of 2,246 people were interviewed for the poll between 13 February and 10 March by TNS Gallup.
The confusion of voters is understandable, says Li Andersson, the chairperson of the Left Alliance. Andersson emphasised in her speech to the party conference last weekend that the municipal elections should be about the reform of social and health care services rather than, for example, the mayoral race that is heating up in Helsinki.
To claim that the elections are not about the reform would be outright disrespectful to voters, she suggested.
“The elections are about a government that is advocating for the privatisation of social and health care services and trying to sweep this minor, ten-billion-euro detail under the rug,” stated Andersson.
“There have been attempts to turn the municipal elections into mayoral elections. Many Helsinkians are consequently under the impression that they will be able to select a new mayor for their home town. This is not the case, and it is very questionable for democracy that some have sought to turn the election battle into individual elections,” she added.
The municipal elections, she reminded, will determine the composition of the city and town councils of a total of 295 municipalities in Finland.
“The newly-elected councils will eventually select a mayor from among their members in only a handful of the almost 300 municipalities,” told Andersson.
The National Coalition emerged as the largest party from the previous municipal elections, with a vote share of 21.9 per cent. The Social Democrats received 19.6 per cent and the Centre 18.7 per cent of the vote in 2012.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi