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Finland: Waning support for conscription?

The Helsinki Times reported on 14 May that support for conscription in the country is waning. According to a survey carried out on behalf of the national daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, 26 per cent of Finns feel that the current system of conscripted national service should be abolished. Opinions on the matter appear to have have evolved in recent years. Four years ago only 19 per cent of those surveyed favoured placing service in the army on a voluntary footing.

The restriction of conscription to men alone continued to enjoy strong support from Finns. Four in five of those surveyed believed that the duty to serve in the nation’s army should not be extended to women.

While the figures wary between the supporters of different political parties, support for conscription generally remains strong. The survey also revealed that supporters of the governing Centre Party were more likely than supporters of other parties to favour the current national service regime. Supporters of the Social Democrats and the Green League, instead, were more likely than average to favour making service voluntary. Thirty-three per cent of Social Democrat supporters favoured doing so, while as many as half of all Green supporters thought similarly.

Source: Helsinki Times: Support for conscription strong but waning, 14 May 2009