• World - Europe
  • Updated: April 01, 2023

ANALYSIS: Finland Heads To Election After Gaining NATO Membership

ANALYSIS: Finland Heads To Election After Gaining NATO Membe

An image of the Finland’s Flag

Finland on Sunday will be heading to elect a new government as it prepares to join the NATO alliance.

This comes amid Turkey's ratification of the nation’s NATO membership.

Here are some things you should know about the country’s election:

What do Finns think of NATO?

A poll by the broadcasting company YLE showed that 76 per cent of Finns were in favour of joining NATO.

According to local media, the Russian war in Ukraine was one of the main reasons behind the country's move into NATO.

Will Prime Minister Sanna Marin lead the country into the NATO reign?

Marin in 2019 became the world’s youngest leader at 34.

Marin’s government is a coalition made up of her Social Democrats, the Centre Party, Green League, Left Alliance and Swedish People’s Party.

Current Finland Prime Minister Sanna Marin speaking at a summit

She faces stiff competition from Petteri Orpo from the National Coalition and the Finns Party’s Riikka Purra.

How is the government formed?

Thousands of candidates from 22 political parties are vying for 200 seats in Finland’s one-chamber parliament, the Eduskunta.

The latest opinion poll published by the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat showed the three biggest parties – the National Coalition, Social Democrats and Finns Party – neck and neck.

The party that wins the most seats may form the next government.

To do so, it needs to form a coalition with other parties and secure at least 101 seats.

The leader of the winning party becomes prime minister.

How does the voting work?

Members of parliament are elected from 13 electoral districts.

The number of representatives elected from each district is in proportion to the district’s population.

Voters choose candidates from an open list and the ones with the most votes in each district win seats.

Can Finns abroad vote?

Finns living abroad may also vote in advance and send in absentee ballots by post.

According to Helimäki, pre-voting in Finland can be done in libraries, universities and some grocery stores.

The election comes as the country faces challenges of inflation and addressing climate change.

Like in the rest of Europe, the cost-of-living crisis is also a worry.

According to Statistics Finland, inflation rose to 8.8 percent in February.

Finance Minister Annika Saarikko has warned that the next government might have to borrow further.

Marin’s government has instead suggested raising taxes and encouraging economic growth.

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