Finns to vote on how best to save their welfare state


April 12, 2019


Chairman Antti Rinne, left, of the Social Democratic Party and the Centre Party chairman Juha Sipil’ joke during parliamentary elections debate arranged by newspaper Helsingin Sanomat in Helsinki, Finland, on April 9, 2019. Finns are voting upcoming Sunday April 14, in parliamentary elections dominated by anxieties over climate change and how to preserve their generous welfare model while having one of the world’s most rapidly ageing populations. LEHTIKUVA VIA AP VESA MOILANEN


By JARI TANNER And VANESSA GERA, The Associated Press


HELSINKI – Finns will be voting Sunday in a parliamentary election shaped by debates on how best to preserve their generous welfare model despite having one of the world’s most rapidly aging populations.

And in this Nordic nation, which has one-third of its territory above the Arctic Circle, anxieties over climate change are emerging more than ever.

In many respects, the vote among Finland’s 5.5 million people reflects trends seen across Europe: a populist anti-immigrant, euroskeptic party is surging in opinion polls, while traditional political parties have lost much of the support they once had.

Across much of Europe in recent years, particularly since the migration crisis of 2015, voters have boosted right-wing parties. But in an exception to that trend, Finland’s centre-left Social Democrats are polling with the most support.

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