Close race ahead as polls open for Finnish parliamentary elections
A tight race is in prospect in Finland’s parliamentary elections, with three parties having a chance of winning.
Voting began at 9 a.m. local time on Sunday. A record 1.7 million people, or almost 40% of Finnish voters, voted in advance polls.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Social Democrats are fighting for a second term. But the latest opinion polls put it behind the center-right National Coalition Party led by Petteri Orpo and the right-wing populist Finns party, led by Riikka Purra.
The uncertainty created a buzz of excitement among voters.
“Exciting elections,” said Antero Inkari in Helsinki. “Anything is possible. Or let’s say it’s possible for anyone to become the biggest party.”
“It’s good that so many people voted early,” said Markus Saukko in Oulu. “Maybe the percentage of people voting will be higher this year.”
“I’m very nervous and excited,” Riitta Huikko said in the capital. “It’s a very interesting election.”
Each of the three main parties expected to win around 20% of the vote, talks could begin next week on forming a government coalition.
In total, more than 2,400 candidates from 22 parties are vying for the 200 seats in the Finnish parliament.
The first estimates of the result are expected shortly after the polls close at 8 p.m. local time.