Elections in Finland: open outcome
Finland elects a new parliament on Sunday. Although the parties are in agreement on the key issue of joining Nato, it is not clear whether Prime Minister Sanna Marin will be able to retain her post. The right-wing populist Finns Party is neck and neck with Marin's Social Democrats in the polls - and both are lagging behind the National Coalition Party. Is the country facing a decisive change of course?
In danger of being pidgeonholed as far right
A victory for the Finns Party led by Riikka Purra would give the country an entirely new face, says Helsingin Sanomat:
“Riikka Purra has succeeded in broadening the party's base so that a large number of citizens support the Finns Party for a variety of reasons. You can't lump them all together, but this doesn't change the fact that in Europe the Finns Party is assigned to the same category as Estonia's Ekre, Germany's AfD, Italy's Lega and Marine Le Pen's RN party in France, which are all in the same group as the Finns Party in the EU Parliament. Finland will also be put in this category if the Finns Party wins. If the Finns Party becomes the strongest party on Monday, Finland will suddenly be a very different country.”
Even if the right-wing populists win, they won't automatically end up governing the country, Iltalehti stresses:
“The big question is whether party leader Riikka Purra can get enough parties around the table to work out a government programme. She would need the National Coalition Party and, in principle, also the Centre Party. This would be a problematic constellation for the National Coalition Party. How can they reach an agreement with Purra's Finns Party on climate targets, labour migration and EU policy? ... If Purra doesn't manage to secure a majority, there will be a so-called blue-red government led by the National Coalition Party and the Social Democrats. Of course, the prerequisite for this is that the Social Democratic Party gets back to reality in economic policy and that the National Coalition Party shortens its list of cuts.”