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Antti Rinne (left), the chairperson of the Social Democrats, could cross the aisle from opposition to power after the next parliamentary elections, according to recent polls. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (right), on the other hand, could find himself in the opposition come 2019.
Antti Rinne (left), the chairperson of the Social Democrats, could cross the aisle from opposition to power after the next parliamentary elections, according to recent polls. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (right), on the other hand, could find himself in the opposition come 2019.

 

The National Coalition and Social Democrats have widened their advantage over other political parties in Finland, finds an opinion poll commissioned by Iltalehti and Uusi Suomi.

Both of the parties would receive more than one-fifth of the vote – the former 20.8 and the latter 20.1 per cent – if the parliamentary elections were held today. The Centre and Green League, the third and fourth most supported parties in the country, are projected to win 16.2 and 13.7 per cent of the ballot, respectively.

The results of the poll are good news particularly for the Social Democrats: they seemingly confirm that the opposition party has successfully stemmed its prolonged slide in polls.

“The results indicate that people are beginning to understand that the social and health care reform and inequality developments are major problems in the Finnish society. And that the Social Democrats offer an alternative to this,” analysed Antti Rinne, the chairperson of the Social Democratic Party.

“It seems clear to me now that we’re on an upward trend, but we have to continue working hard day by day.”

The Centre Party, on the other hand, may find itself across the aisle after the next parliamentary elections unless it is able to reverse its several-month skid in opinion polls. Helsingin Sanomat, for example, has reported that support for the the winner of the previous parliamentary elections has decreased already for four consecutive months to as low as 14.8 per cent.

The Green League has similarly taken several steps back after its popularity peaked at 17.5 per cent in August, according to Helsingin Sanomat. The party is nevertheless projected to win a larger share of the vote than in the previous parliamentary elections and could, as a result, emerge as an appealing coalition partner for the National Coalition and Social Democrats.

Rinne on Friday declined to speculate on the composition of the next government.

“Let’s just have the elections first and see what kind of a programme we can build. The Social Democrats’ decisions will be based especially on our success in the elections and what kind of a programme we can build,” he commented.

The poll was conducted by Tietoykkönen between 8 and 18 December, 2017. Roughly three-quarters (76.4%) of the 1,500 people contacted responded to the poll.

Finland’s next parliamentary elections will be held in the first half of 2019.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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