Finland’s conservative National Coalition appears to be in a clear lead over other parties in the elections for the European Parliament, according to an opinion poll published by the public broadcaster Yle.
Finland remains of particular interest in EU politics because it has produced one of the most successful of the eurosceptic parties, the Finns Party, founded in 1995 and now the largest opposition party in the Finnish parliament.
The opinion poll puts the Finns Party in third place at 17.1 per cent, just a half-per cent behind the second place Centre Party.
However, the opinion poll indicates that the National Coalition, senior party in a coalition between right and left, is likely to get 22.7 per cent of votes in the elections on Sunday. This would mean four seats of Finland’s 13 seats in the European Parliament.
If the latest predictions are correct, the Centre Party would take three seats in the European Parliament, while the Finns Party and Social Democrats would each take two seats. Voters would elect just one Green and one Left Alliance MEP, according to Euractiv.
The Finns Party embrace the economic policies of the centre-left but pursue conservative social policies. The party has been led since 1995 by Timo Soini, a Catholic convert in a country dominated by Lutheranism.
Soini supports Britain’s Millwall Football Club, whose fans are famous for their chant: “No one likes us, we don’t care.” He was once recognised in a London railway station by a gang of skinhead Millwall fans who gave him a cheer and escorted him along the platform, an honour not many Continental – or British –politicians can claim.
Finland will be one of 21 of the 28 EU member states to vote on Sunday. Britain and the Netherlands voted on Thursday, Ireland and the Czech Republic on Friday, Latvia, Malta and Slovakia will vote on Saturday. All results will be announced on Sunday evening.