A person holding a voting ticket in a polling booth in Espoo on 29 May 2024. By the closing of stations on Saturday, 12.5 per cent of Finns entitled to vote had cast their vote in the European elections, representing a one-point increase from the corresponding point in the advance voting period in 2019. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

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THE FINNISH TURNOUT in the European elections is on track to increase slightly from the previous elections, even though there has not exactly been a rush to polling stations, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

The Ministry of Justice’s Information and Results Service indicates that 14.2 per cent of people entitled to vote had cast their vote by the time the stations closed on the fifth day of the advance voting period, on Sunday, 2 June.

The data reveal that women have cast almost 332,000 votes and men 278,000 votes, translating to turnouts of 15.1 and 13.3 per cent, respectively.

The total turnout stood at 12.5 per cent after the closing of stations on Saturday, signalling a one-percentage-point improvement on the first four days of advance voting ahead of the 2019 elections to the European Parliament.

While Wednesday, Thursday and Friday each saw roughly 140,000–160,000 people cast their vote, the turnout slowed substantially for the weekend, with only 75,000 people voting on Saturday and Sunday. Thursday has been the busiest day of the advance voting period so far, drawing nearly 162,000 people, equivalent to 3.8 per cent of those entitled to vote, to polling stations.

The Finnish turnout in the 2019 elections came in at 42.7 per cent. Political analysts have expressed their hope that this year the turnout will hit 50 per cent for the first time ever given the high stakes of the elections. Also opinion polls indicate that about half of the public are definitely intent on exercising their right to vote.

With the advance voting period accounting for roughly half of the total votes in the previous elections, however, for the total turnout to hit 50 per cent voting will have to pick up significantly on the last two days of the advance voting period, Monday and Tuesday.

In 2019, the last day of the advance voting period was by far the busiest, reminded Helsingin Sanomat.

The election day is next Sunday, 9 June. The Finnish vote will determine which 15 lawmakers from the country will serve in the European Parliament until 2029.

Projections across Europe indicate that the parliament is set to take a significant step toward the far-right, raising questions about, among other things, the bloc’s commitment to climate action in the domains of agriculture and transport, support for Ukraine, and the overall functioning of the European Parliament.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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