The Finns Party’s Jussi Halla-aho (right) and Ville Tavio (left) leaving a meeting of the right-wing party’s parliamentary group meeting in Helsinki on 7 June 2019. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

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THE FINNS PARTY has raced ahead of other political parties in the wake of the parliamentary elections held in Finland in April, according to a poll commissioned by Alma Media.

The poll shows that popular support for the populist right-wing party increased by 0.9 percentage points to 20.1 per cent between May and June. The National Coalition and Social Democrats, meanwhile, saw their popularity decrease to 17.2 and 16.2 per cent, respectively.

The Social Democrats, Finns Party and National Coalition emerged from the elections practically neck and neck, the first winning 17.7 per cent, the second 17.5 per cent and the third 17.0 per cent of the ballot.

Karina Jutila, the director of E2 Research, says the Finns Party is popular particularly because of how different it is compared to other, more traditional political parties. “It has a different focus in terms of content and a distinct style. The way it speaks is different, and also the people who speak are different,” she analysed.

The Finnish Parliament has already witnessed one controversy kindled by a questionable choice of words by a member of the Finns Party. Juha Mäenpää (PS), a first-term Member of Parliament from Vaasa, employed the term “introduced species” in the context of asylum seekers and their religious convictions, prompting at least a couple of requests for police inquiries.

Uusi Suomi has reported that authorities are currently weighing up how to proceed in dealing with the issue.

The Green League overtaking the Centre Party is another noticeable change in the poll commissioned by Alma Media. The Green League saw its popularity jump by 1.5 percentage points to 13.6 per cent between May and June, while the Centre saw its slip by 0.4 percentage points to 13.0 per cent – probably in part due to the uncertainty surrounding its future leadership.

Jutila said the Greens has succeeded with its leadership choices.

“The two successful chairperson selections are surely one explanation – the selections of Pekka Haavisto and Maria Ohisalo. They’re associated with positive expectations,” she explained.

The Left Alliance registered a dip of 1.2 percentage points in popular support to 8.2 per cent and the Christian Democrats one of 0.5 percentage points to 3.0 per cent. The Swedish People’s Party, by contrast, gained 0.1 percentage points and is currently polling at 4.8 per cent.

A total of 1,510 people were surveyed for the poll between 4 and 14 June by Tietoykkönen.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi