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Low turnout predicted for January's provincial elections

A survey commissioned by local government foundation Kaks found that less than 40 percent of eligible voters could cast a ballot.

Ronja Sallinen äänesti Grundskolan Norsenilla Helsingissä vaalipäivänä 13. kesäkuuta.
Under 40 percent of eligible voters could cast a ballot, the survey found Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

Elections to the new provincial councils created by the introduction of the government's health and social care 'sote' reforms could see unusually low voter turnout, a new poll has found.

The survey commissioned by the Foundation for Municipal Development (Kaks) found that 43 percent of respondents said they would definitely vote in the elections, scheduled for January 2022.

This compares to a similar poll carried out before June's municipal elections, where 60 percent said they were certain to vote.

In reality, turnout in the municipal elections was 55 percent, which suggests that under 40 percent of eligible voters could cast a ballot to elect new regional authorities in January, Kaks said.

Voter intention varies by group

The 21 new regional authorities, plus the City of Helsinki, will take over responsibility for organising and providing health and social care from Finland's 293 municipalities.

According to the Kaks poll, employees, the unemployed, Finns Party voters, less educated people and people in southern Finland were less likely to vote in the upcoming elections.

By contrast, managers, recent immigrants, highly-educated people, pensioners, National Coalition Party voters and self-employed people were more likely to vote.

The survey also found that around one-in-five, or 19 percent, of respondents were interested in being elected to the new regional authorities.

An Yle survey of MPs carried out in September found that around a third of parliamentarians wanted to run for election to the incoming regional councils.

Kaks commissioned polling company Kantar TNS to carry out the poll by interviewing 1,000 people earlier this month.

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