Home Business Economy & Politics Finland elections 2015: Alexander Stubb faces strong challenge from Juha Sipila

Finland elections 2015: Alexander Stubb faces strong challenge from Juha Sipila

Polls have opened in Finland, amid hopes that a new government will pull the country out of its three-year economic slump.

PM Alexander Stubb and his conservative National Coalition Party face a strong challenge from former businessman Juha Sipila and his centre-right Centre Party.

Juha Sipila has pledged create more than 200,000 jobs in the next 10 years.

Finland’s economy has been the main issue during the election campaign.PM Alexander Stubb and Juha Sipila

A year of stagnation in 2014 was preceded by two years of recession and unemployment now stands at 9.2%.

The governing coalition has struggled to push through reforms, leading to a reduction in support for Alexander Stubb ahead of polling day.

A poll published on April 16 by public broadcaster YLE put support for the National Coalition at 16.9%, behind the Centre Party at 24%.

Juha Sipila, an IT millionaire, was relatively unknown in Finland until he became leader of the Centre Party three years ago.

He has publicly criticized Alexander Stubb’s plans to cut 6 billion euros from budget deficits over the coming four years, dismissing the proposal as unrealistic.

It is unclear clear who Juha Sipila will choose to form a coalition with, if he is elected prime minister.

Polls put the Social Democrats at 15.1% and the eurosceptic right-wing Finns Party at 16.7%.

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