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Poll: Finland wants a 'red earth' government

A new poll suggests that Finns want the next government to be formed by the Centre party and the Social Democrats. The poll asked respondents which parties they expected to be in the next cabinet, and the Centre and SDP were the only two to get the nod from more than fifty percent.

SDP:n puheenjohtajan Antti Rinne (kuvassa vasemmalla) ja Keskustan puheenjohtaja Juha Sipilä.
SDP:n puheenjohtajan Antti Rinne (kuvassa vasemmalla) ja Keskustan puheenjohtaja Juha Sipilä. Image: Antti aimo-Koivisto/Lehtikuva ja Roni Rekomaa /Lehtikuva, kuvakollaasi: Yle

Finland is heading for a government led by the Centre party and the Social Democrats, if a new poll by a local government think tank is accurate. The poll asked voters which parties they want to be in the next government, which will be formed after elections due on 19 April.

They were allowed to pick as many parties as they liked.

Some 60 percent of those answering the survey said they want the poll-leading Centre party to be in the next government, while 51 percent said they hope the SDP secures ministerial posts.

This is a big shift from last summer, when the same survey found that people wanted the National Coalition Party to be the second government party behind the Centre. NCP support in the survey has dropped by 12 percentage points.

NCP set apart from 'big three'

The latest poll reflects the voting intentions polls, which have seen the SDP rise to become the most likely party to secure second spot in April’s election. The second party is likely to be the first group Juha Sipilä’s Centre negotiates with on forming a government.

Analyst Erkka Railo from the Parliamentary research centre says that the poll reflects the realities of the likely permutations in government-formation.

"The Centre’s, the SDP’s and the Finns Party’s programmes are much closer to each other, and the NCP has consciously set itself up as an alternative to those parties, a little to the side," said Railo.

"This has been quite a daring strategy for the NCP and attitude surveys have shown that they may have shot themselves in the foot as they are not seen as a credible government partner for the other three parties," said Railo.

A Centre-SDP coalition is colloquially referred to as a ‘red-earth’ administration, referencing both the centre-left ideology of the SDP and the agrarian roots of the Centre party.

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