14.04.2019 | Finland election: Brussels panic as populists surge before crunch vote today
Source - The Sundayy Express
The polls open later today, with the Social Democrat Party (SDP) currently leading the ballot with 19 percent support.The last time they won was in 1999. Behind the SDP is the Nationalist Finns Party at 16.3 percent in the opinion polls, followed by the centre-right National Coalition Party (NCP) with 15.9 percent.
The SDP has pledged to raise taxes to fund the country's generous welfare system as it struggles to cope with a rapidly ageing population.
This comes after voters expressed huge concerns over the future of the Nordic nation's generous welfare system amid rising costs and an ageing pensioners.
SDP leader Antti Rinne said: “We need to strengthen our welfare society - and that needs money.”
The party would still need to build a coalition to form a stable government should it win.
The rise in populism teamed with Brexit is one of the biggest threats to the bloc in recent years.
Nation such as Italy and Poland are hotly tipped to follow in the footsteps of Britain and hold a referendum over their future in the EU.
Their reasons are similar to that of Leave voters in the UK - a surge in immigration as well as the staggering amounts of cash the member states pay into the EU kitty.
Both have had their own issues with the EU, with Poland having been sued by the bloc over changes to its law systems, while Italy is crippled by €2.1trillion of debt.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been open about his feelings towards Brussels.
Budapest was only weeks ago suspended from Europe's centre-right European People's Party (EPP), meaning Mr Orban’s Fidesz party now has no voting rights whatsoever.
EPP leader Manfred Weber, who is hotly tipped to take over from German Chancellor Angela Merkel when she steps down in 2021, said: “Practically it means that Fidesz cannot any more present candidates for posts in the party, they cannot vote any more for any kind of EPP assembly and they are even not any more allowed to participate in any meeting.”
Mr Orban and Italy deputy Matteo Salvini have praised Britain for voting for Brexit.