A tight race is in prospect in Finland's parliamentary elections, with three parties in with a chance of coming out top.
A tight race is in prospect in Finland's parliamentary elections, with three parties in with a chance of coming out on top.
Voting began on Sunday at 9 am local time. A record 1.7 million people, or nearly 40% of voters in Finland, cast advance ballots.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin's Social Democrats are fighting to secure a second term. But final opinion polls put her behind the centre-right National Coalition Party led by Petteri Orpo, and the right-wing populist The Finns party, led by Riikka Purra.
The uncertainty has created a buzz of excitement among voters.
"Exciting election," said Antero Inkari in Helsinki. "Anything is possible. Or let’s say it’s possible for anybody to become the biggest party."
"It is good that so many people have voted in advance," said Markus Saukko, in Oulu. "Perhaps the percentage of people voting will be higher this year."
"I’m very nervous and excited," said Riitta Huikko in the capital. "This is a very interesting election."
With each of the three main parties expected to take around 20% of the vote, talks could begin next week on forming a governing coalition.
In total there are more than 2,400 candidates from 22 parties vying for the 200 seats in Finland's parliament.
First estimations of the result are expected shortly after polls close at 8 pm local time.