Finland’s local elections a test for nation’s young leader

HELSINKI (AP) — Finland is holding local elections that are seen as a key test for popular young Social Democratic Prime Minister Sanna Marin. She took office 18 months ago shortly before the pandemic and her party is behind in polls across the Nordic country. The vote to renew local councils in Finland’s more than 300 municipalities is a key indication of parties’ popularity ahead of the 2023 parliamentary election.  Stakes are higher this time because the elections were postponed for two months due to COVID-19 and because of the tensions inside Marin’s center-left, five-party governing coalition. The conservative National Coalition Party and the populist Finns Party are in leading in the polls ahead of Sunday’s vote.