Finland moves back municipal elections by nearly two months, to 13 June

Finland moves back municipal elections by nearly two months, to 13 June

THE MINISTRY of Justice on Saturday announced the municipal elections will be postponed from mid-April to 13 June.

The decision was made in a meeting between the party secretaries of the nine parliamentary parties and Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson (SFP) on Saturday, with eight of the secretaries expressing their support for the postponement.

Henriksson on Saturday stated that it would have been “technically” possible to organize the elections on schedule but said the willingness to postpone increased following a situation assessment and projections presented to the Ministry of Justice by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

“THL estimated that the number of infections on the original election day, 18 April, could be 2,600–11,200. That was startling detail,” she stated in a news conference.

“The threshold for moving back the elections is very high. As responsible decision-makers, we can’t disregard the statements of health care authorities.”

The material was published on Saturday.

Moving forward with the elections on schedule, she pointed out, would have presented significant risks not only to health security, but also the legitimacy of the elections despite the measures adopted by authorities as it could have resulted in a sharp decline in voter turnout or necessitated a last-minute postponement.

“The measures can’t fully guarantee that all the risks are eliminated,” she said.

She also highlighted that the postponement should ensure the majority of people at high risk of developing serious symptoms from a coronavirus infections should have been vaccinated by the elections.

Henriksson revealed that the advance voting period will be lengthened to two weeks and take place between 26 May and 8 June. The voting register will also be re-created to grant voting rights to anyone turning 18 by 13 June.

Helsinkitimes

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