Saturday 10/23/21
EPIDEMIC

Finland moves municipal elections to June over Covid-19 concerns

The True Finns party, which is competing with Prime Minister Sanna Marin's Social Democrats to become the largest party in the country, was the only one to oppose the rescheduling of the elections.

The Prime Minister of Finland, the Social Democrat Sanna Marin. Photo: Laura Kotila/Vnk.
The Prime Minister of Finland, the Social Democrat Sanna Marin. Photo: Laura Kotila/Vnk.

Finland's municipal elections that were scheduled for April have been postponed until June due to the pandemic, the Justice Ministry said on Saturday. 

Representatives of the nine parties represented in the national legislature had over the past few days discussed moving the election with Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson. Eight of the nine parties agreed to reschedule, the ministry said.

The municipal elections are now due to be held on June 13 instead of April 18.

Henriksson and other cabinet members recently said there was "a high threshold" to change the date.

The opposition True Finns (Perussuomalaiset) were the only party against rescheduling the election. The right-wing populist party is vying with Prime Minister Sanna Marin's Social Democrats to become the country's largest party.

"Lots of elections have been held across the world despite an even worse coronavirus situation," said Simo Gronroos, party secretary of the True Finns party.

'Safer month'

Markku Tervahauta, head of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), earlier told public broadcaster YLE's morning show that June was a safer month compared to April in terms of infection rates.

The government recently declared a state of emergency, expanding its powers to tackle the pandemic, citing a rise in new cases. It has also proposed temporarily closing cafes, bars and restaurants in areas where the epidemic is considered to be in an acceleration or community transmission phase.

Parliament's approval for the three-week shutdown was pending.

The country of 5.5 million has recorded more than 61,000 cases and over 760 coronavirus-related deaths since the outbreak began.

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