Finland’s Right-Wing National Coalition Party Wins Tight Election
Al Jazeera, April 2, 2023
Finland’s main conservative party has claimed victory in a tightly-fought parliamentary election.
With all of the votes counted on Sunday, the centre-right National Coalition Party (NCP) came out on top at 20.8 percent. They were followed by the right-wing populist party, The Finns, with 20.1 percent, while Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Social Democrats garnered 19.9 percent.
With the top three parties each getting around 20 percent of the vote, no party is in a position to form a government alone. Over 2,400 candidates from 22 parties were vying for the 200 seats in the Nordic country’s parliament.
“We got the biggest mandate,” NCP leader Petteri Orpo said as he claimed victory, surrounded by supporters in a restaurant in the capital, Helsinki.
“Based on this result, talks over forming a new government to Finland will be initiated under the leadership of the National Coalition Party,” he said.
Marin, who at age 37 is one of Europe’s youngest leaders, conceded defeat.
Marin, considered by fans around the globe as a millennial role model for progressive new leaders, has received praise in the West for her vocal support of Ukraine and her prominent role, along with President Sauli Niinisto, in advocating for Finland’s successful application to join NATO.
But at home, she has faced criticism for her partying and her government’s public spending, including on pensions and education.
The NCP’s share of votes translates into 48 seats in the Eduskunta, Finland’s parliament, while The Finns, a nationalist party running largely on an anti-immigration and anti-European Union agenda, is to get 46 seats and Marin’s Social Democrats 43 seats, respectively.
Observers say the result means a power shift in Finland’s political scene as the nation is now likely to get a new centre-right government with nationalist tones.