Chairpersons Annika Saarikko of the Centre and Antti Lindtman of the Social Democrats took part in a European election debate organised by YLE on Thursday, 6 June 2024. The Centre is set to hold on to its two seats and the Social Democrats gain a seat in the European Parliament, indicates a poll by the Finnish public broadcaster. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)

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POPULAR SUPPORT for the Finns Party has surged on the eve of the elections to the European Parliament, according to a poll commissioned by YLE.

The Finnish public broadcasting company reported yesterday that support for the populist right-wing party has jumped by 2.4 percentage points from last month to 16.5 per cent, a share that – if it translates to votes – would guarantee three seats in the European Parliament.

A lot, though, hinges on how well the party succeeds in mobilising its supporters, Jari Pajunen, the managing director of Taloustutkimus, said to YLE on Thursday.

“That could be the decisive factor when it comes to this third seat,” he predicted.

The National Coalition was preferred by 20.6 per cent of the people interviewed for the poll, a vote share that would be enough to secure four seats in Brussels. The Social Democratic Party remains on track to win three seats with an approval rating of 19.4 per cent.

Each of the three most popular parties would see their seat number grow by one compared with the outgoing European Parliament.

The Centre and Left Alliance are both set to win two seats – an increase of one seat for the latter – with vote shares of 11.9 and 10.8 per cent, respectively. Support for the former, centre-right party fell by more than one-and-a-half points from the previous poll.

The Green League could be the biggest loser in the elections, with the poll finding that the party is preferred by 9.3 per cent of the public. The vote share would see it lose two of its three seats in Brussels.

Support for the Swedish People’s Party came in at 4.2 per cent, an outcome that would leave the centre-right party without a seat for the first time ever.

Also the Christian Democrats and Movement Now would be left without a representative in Brussels as the electoral alliance formed by the two parties received support from 5.1 per cent of respondents. The National Coalition, however, edged out the electoral alliance for the 15th and final seat allocated for the country by only about 400 votes, according to YLE.

The Swedish People’s Party’s struggles in European election polls have been attributed to, for example, the fact that no polling data is collected on the Swedish-speaking Åland Islands. The YLE poll suggests that votes from the archipelago would not be enough to guarantee a seat for the ruling party.

“Maybe it’d provide ten thousand more votes. That isn’t enough to win a seat. Another ten thousand would be required,” remarked Pajunen.

Taloustutkimus contacted 2,111 people for the poll between 29 May and 4 June. The poll yielded 1,500 responses, half by phone and half on an internet panel. The results have a margin of error of roughly two percentage points.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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