A fresh Yle poll shows Prime Minister Juha Sipilä's Centre Party hobbling toward next month's general election with 14.4 percent voter support. Political commentator Sini Korpinen and journalist Sam Kingsley told APN that the party may be heading for one of its poorest election outcomes, if Friday's poll is anything to go by.
According to the pundits, Juha Sipilä has gone from being a promising "breath of fresh air" as a political neophyte who took over the party in 2015, to being the face of an government that introduced deep austerity cuts. If Sipilä is to be believed, he will step down as party chair if the Centre doesn't do well in the election on 14 April.
Centre in opposition?
Korpinen said that while the Centre has proved willing to experiment with new leadership in the past -- for example electing urbanite Mari Kiviniemi as chair in 2010 -- it will have to contend with traditionalists among its ranks. She added that the Centre's current polling may also suggest that it will likely sit out the next term in opposition, more so since it has typically not fared well in the polls after being in an administration that includes Petteri Orpo's National Coalition Party.
APN's panelists also dissected Environment Minister Kimmo Tiilikainen's boast on Yle News' election debate earlier this week that the government was able to meet and exceed its employment target of 72 percent, paving the way for the next administration to build on its accomplishments.
Korpinen said that the next government will likely have to make equally painful decisions to implement more spending cuts and to take forward much-needed social and health care reform. Kingsley, meanwhile, pointed out that the quality of the jobs responsible for the growth in employment was questionable, as many were not stable full-time positions.
Party views in Yle News' election debate
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