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Saturday April 20th, 2019 5:19AM

The Latest: Finland party hasn't ruled out populist partner

By The Associated Press
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HELSINKI (AP) — The Latest on Finland's parliamentary election (all times local):

4:35 p.m.

The leader of Finland's center-left Social Democratic Party says he hasn't ruled out having the populist Finns Party as a governing coalition partner, but its differing "value base" is an obstacle.

Social Democratic leader Antti Rinne told reporters after voting Sunday in a municipality north of Finland's capital of Helsinki: "I have not closed out the Finns Party. I have said that if we're the first party, we are going to ask all parties the same questions."

Rinne said his values "differ very much" from those of the chairman of the euroskeptic, anti-immigrant Finns, Jussi Halla-aho.

He said" 'That's a big question for me. We need to have a government where there is the same value base."

Polls before the parliamentary election predicted the Social Democrats would place first with voter support of 19%-21%. The polls had the Finns Party coming in second or third with 15%-16% of the vote.

___

1:40 p.m.

While the debate over climate change has dominated the campaign for Finland's parliamentary election, the populist Finns Party disagrees with other main parties on what measures to take.

Finns Party leader Jussi Halla-aho told reporters at a Helsinki polling station Sunday that "we want a more moderate and sensible climate policy that does not chase industries away from Finland to countries like China."

The Finns Party, which ahead of Sunday's vote has been polling in second place behind the opposition Social Democrats, has been gaining momentum among rural voters and others who find the climate change proposals of other political parties too daunting.

Some of those proposals include boosting the number of electric vehicles, cutting meat consumption through taxes and switching to more vegetarian food in public places like schools.

___

12:40 a.m.

Greenpeace is calling the parliamentary vote in Finland the "climate election," saying that "never before has climate and the limits of planet Earth been discussed with such seriousness in Finland."

Sunday's vote in the European Union member of 5.5 million people is taking place in a Nordic country that has one-third of its land above the Arctic Circle and where climate policy has emerged as a key election topic.

Voter Sofia Frantsi, 27, an architect from Helsinki, told The Associated Press "for everybody, it's about the climate. It's kind of a climate election."

Greens lawmaker Emma Kari told the AP that "it's clear a vast majority of Finns is hoping the new parliament takes climate action."

Voters were choosing between 2,500 candidates from 19 political parties and movements for the Eduskunta legislature's 200 seats.

___

7 a.m.

Voters in Finland are casting ballots in a parliamentary election after fierce debates over how best to tackle climate change dominated the campaign, even overshadowing topics like reforming the nation's generous welfare model.

Sunday's vote in the European Union member of 5.5 million people is taking place in a Nordic country that has one-third of its territory above the Arctic Circle.

The center-left Social Democratic Party tops a recent poll with 19% support. The populist Finns Party, however, is polling in second place with 16% support and has been gathering momentum among voters who find the climate change sacrifices proposed by other political parties too daunting.

Some 36% of eligible voters have already cast their ballot in advance, choosing between 2,500 candidates from 19 political parties and movements for the Eduskunta legislature's 200 seats.

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