HELSINKI (AFP) - Finns turned out in droves Sunday for a parliamentary vote marked by the meteoric rise of the nationalist True Finns party, which could tip the political scale to the right and even block Finnish approval of EU bailouts. The latest polls handed a slim lead to the National Coalition, a conservative, junior member of the outgoing centre-right government, just ahead of Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi's Centre Party and the opposition Social Democrats (SDP) battling for second place. But following a campaign dominated by debates over the European Union as well as pensions, welfare and immigration, all eyes are turned to the True Finns, whose support has rocketed from 4.1 percent in the last elections in 2007 to 15.4 percent in the last survey. The populist, anti-immigration, right-wing party has largely shaped the campaign debate with its calls to flatly reject EU bailouts to debt-ridden member states and to abandon the euro, a message which resonated with many people from other parties as well. Hari Nordling, a 58-year-old salesman, said he would vote for the Swedish People's Party but largely supported the True Finns' stance on the EU. "All we have here is more and more expenses. We pay more than we get (from the EU). Those countries ... use the money of our taxpayers to help other people," he told AFP shortly after polls opened at 9:00 am (0600 GMT) in a sunny Helsinki. Media reported that "brisk" early-morning voting picked up even more by midday in Finland's major cities, and observers predicted turnout well above the 67.9 percent in 2007 due to the controversy surrounding the True Finns. "We've definitely come out to vote against the True Finns. Their ideology is somthing that shouldn't be tolerated," 32-year-old Sirpa Kortelainen told AFP before casting her ballot in Helsinki, refusing to say who would get her vote. In the northern Finnish cities of Oulu, Rovaniemi and Kuopio, queues to polling stations stretched by early afternoon more than 20 metres (yards), according to the news agency STT. Helsinki's Hakaniemi market square, the heart of the city's bohemian working-class neighborhood and adjacent to several polling stations, was filled with voters in a carnival atmosphere, indicative of both the election controversy and the sunny spring weather. "These elections will be won or lost based on voter turnout," Helsinki University political analyst Jan Sundberg told AFP, predicting a turnout of over 70 percent as the True Finns are seen to be mobilising people who normally do not vote. "Plus there is a large protest action from supporters of the rest of the parties," he added. The party's leader Timo Soini has attracted voters with his down-to-earth charisma, and has deflected wide-spread accusations against his party of xenophobia, vote-pandering and inexperience. The party, which currently holds only six out of 200 seats, will most likely bring an influx of right-wing MPs into parliament. However, it is not expected to become part of the next government, since Soini has ruled out joining a coalition in favour of increasing loan guarantees to the EU's emergency bailout fund, and polls are predicting a victory for the pro-EU National Coalition party. Outgoing Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen, who heads that party and will probably be the next prime minister if it maintains its lead, has stressed that Finland must "act responsibly" in the bloc to avoid a meltdown of the eurozone. The SDP has meanwhile suffered the most at the hands of the True Finns, as the disgruntled working class has abandoned it in droves. In an attempt to stop the haemorrhaging of voters, the SDP has altered its message to sound a lot more like that of the True Finns, with a more sceptical line on immigration and a new cautious, even unclear approach to the EU. Polling stations are due to close at 8:00 pm (1700 GMT), with the first preliminary results expected to tick in around the same time, and a final tally around midnight.