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Polls open as voting on the way in Finland

Sunday, 17 April 2011
The Finns are at the polls on Sunday to choose their next law makers and a leader. Therefore voting for parliamentary elections is going on today as polling stations opened at eight o'clock Swedish time.

Already opinion polls have put the four largest parties at the head and it will be a tight battle over who should be part of a government expectation is that coalitions would be formed as hung parliament is the norm here.

Finland is a place with a traditionally low in voters turnout - around 70 percent - but this year seems to attract many voters and political analysts here in Sweden feel that there are some sensitive question that have emerged recently that is pushing people to the polls.

The main questions that the Finns are concerned with in the coming years has to do with jobs and the economy, Euro bail out, energy and nuclear has featured in some debates and even momentary stealing the show after the Japanese nuclear meltdown. Finland recently carried out massive nuclear energy expansion the Green Party that has been party of the government even though they voted against nuclear see voter backlash against them for staying in a government they disagreed with.

The question of Swedish as a second language in the country had also attracted lots of attention especially from the Swedish eastern part of the country. Politicians are beginning to feel that Swedish should be scrapped in favour of Russian. This brought in hard criticism from the European Union who accused Finland of undermining its minorities and the Swedish speakers are ready to give the government a bloody nose. 

Then the top of all is immigration. Although Finland has relatively lower immigrants compared to, for example, Sweden and Denmark, far right rhetoric and anti Islam voices had emerged in Finland in the past months. This has led to the some what far right True Finns Party emerging in a strong way.

Buoyed by the success of the far right in Sweden, in which the Swedish far right party, the Sweden Democrats where voted to the Swedish parliament and, the strong noises from the Danish People’s Party, the True Finns which preach “Finland only for Finns” is believed to attract more to the polls, either to counter it’s “toxic rhetorics” or to support it’s fight “against the destruction of the Finnish culture”.

The number of pre voters is more than the last election - almost 1.3 million, almost half of the electorate have already voted. Therefore, here in Sweden, analysts are talking of a turnout that is unusually high.

The polling stations close at 19.00 Swedish time (6pm UK)  and the first election results are expected shortly after.
Finns living abroad have been unusually active in the general election, it appeared yesterday. Over a quarter more votes, compared to the previous parliamentary elections in 2007. Most of the overseas votes came from Sweden.
By Scancomark.se Team









Key Finnish Facts
Official Name Republic of Finland
President Tarja Halonen
Prime minister Matti Vanhanen
Population 5.3 Million
Capital City Helsinki
Monetary Unit Euro (€)
  €1 = 100 cent
Domain Name .fi
Int. Dialling Code +358
Official Language Finish - 92%
Swedish - 6%
Religion Christianity
Main stock market Name NASDQ OMX Helsinki 25
Internet Speed 4.5 Mbps (2009)
Vital Links
Finnish Government
OECD data on Finland
Finland and UNICEF
Ministry of Economy  & Employment
Statistics Finland
Finland 's UNO Pages
Confederation of Finnish Industries

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