Centre-right party claims victory in Finland’s tightly-fought parliamentary elections

Finland’s centre-right leader, Petteri Orpo, claimed victory in Sunday’s tightly-fought parliamentary election.

His centre-right National Coalition Party (NCP) came out on top at 20.8 per cent, followed by the right-wing populist party, The Finns, with 20.1 per cent.

The country’s left-wing Prime Minister Sanna Marin on Sunday evening conceded defeat after her party finished third with 19.9 per cent saying the “celebration of democracy is always a wonderful thing”.

“This is a great day because we have done well in the elections. Congratulations also to the other winners of the elections, congratulations to the Coalition Party, and congratulations to the Finns Party. Democracy has spoken,” said Marin.

In what were very close results, with 99 per cent of votes counted, the centre-right was credited with 48 of the 200 seats in parliament, the far-right with 46, and the Social Democrats with 43.

In Finland, the biggest party in parliament traditionally gets the first chance at forming a coalition government, and usually claims the prime minister’s office.

Orpo told his supporters that the NCP’s win was “a great victory”.

“On the basis of this election result, we will start negotiating a government in Finland,” he said.

He could choose to build a government either with the Finns Party or the Marin’s Social Democrats, though he is at odds with both on various issues.

Orpo’s pro-business party has made the economy its top priority, saying it want to address Finland’s debt-to-GDP ratio which has risen from 64 per cent in 2019 to 73 per cent.

The 37-year-old Marin, who was the world’s youngest prime minister when she took office in 2019, is seen abroad as a role model for progressive new leaders, but has faced criticism at home for partying and her government’s public spending.

Meanwhile, the head of the anti-immigration Finns Party, Riikka Purra, thanked her supporters.

The party has seen its support surge since last year as the country faced a cost of living crisis following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Negotiations to build a coalition government are expected to be difficult and could last several weeks.


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