Sunday 12/5/21

Sanna Marin's leadership loses steam, polls show

Two recently released polls show declining popularity for the prime minister and her party.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin, addressing Parliament. Photo: Hanne Salonen/Eduskunta.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin, addressing Parliament. Photo: Hanne Salonen/Eduskunta/file photo.

The leadership of Prime Minister Sanna Marin and her party, the Social Democrat SDP, are losing steam.

According to two recently published polls, the popularity of the head of Finnish government has dropped and her party has fallen in the polls to third place, behind the two main formations of the right-wing opposition.

The latest of these opinion polls, conducted by the Uutissuomalainen group of regional and local newspapers, shows that Marin remains the most popular politician in Finland. A quarter of those surveyed still consider her the most successful of the leaders of parliamentary parties. However, her leadership has dropped nine points from the previous poll, conducted in November.

What has happened since November that Marin's leadership has eroded so badly?

During these months, Finns have had to deal with a surge in coronavirus cases in parallel with increased restrictions on their freedoms, and the government imposed a mandatory shutdown for some businesses that entrepreneurs didn't like at all.

Elections delayed

Marin and the rest of leaders of the 5-party coalition government have also received harsh criticism for their decision to delay the municipal elections to June.

Although the government blamed the decision on the Covid-19 pandemic, the movement has not been well understood in a country that is among the least hit in the world by the disease. The Finns know that the rest of the countries of Europe have been able to hold elections under much more difficult conditions. And opposition parties believe that in delaying the elections, the prime minister's loss of popularity at the polls may have outweighed the coronavirus.

The most recent blow to the leadership of Prime Minister Marin occurred on March 31, when the government was forced to withdraw a bill that imposed restrictions on freedom of movement and established the mandatory use of masks, after the Constitutional Law Committee of the Finnish Parliament (Eduskunta) declared it unconstitutional.

The leader of the Perussuomalaiset, Jussi Halla-aho. Photo: Hanne Salonen/Eduskunta.

The leader of the Perussuomalaiset, Jussi Halla-aho. Photo: Hanne Salonen/Eduskunta.


According to the poll conducted by Uutissuomalainen, the second most popular politician would be the leader of the Perussuomalaiset Jussi Halla-Aho and the third place would be for the chair of the Left Alliance Li Andersson, currently on maternity leave.

On April 1, another poll carried out by the Finnish broadcasting company (YLE) showed an important turn in the situation of the parties and placed the Perussuomalaiset party as the main one in voting intentions for the municipal elections.

Second place went to the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) and Prime Minister Marin's Social Democratic Party (SDP) fell from first to third place.