Sanna Marin accepted defeat in Finland: the conservatives access the government and the extreme right grows

Finnish Prime Minister and leader of the Social Democratic Party, Sanna Marin, together with the leader of the National Coalition party, Petteri Orpo (via Reuters) (LEHTIKUVA/)

The center-right won this Sunday the general elections in Finland and will replace the Social Democrats led by the outgoing Prime Minister, sanna marinafter very close votes where the ultranationalists achieved a record result and could enter the next government.

“It’s a great victory,” he celebrated Petteri Orpoa 53-year-old former minister and leader of the National Coalition, winner of the elections, to the cheers of his supporters.

We are going to start negotiations for a government in Finlandadded Orpo, who has the option of forming a left-wing alliance with Marin’s Social Democratic Party (SDP) or Riikka Purra’s anti-immigration, eurosceptic Finns Party.

According to almost final results after counting 98% of the votes, the center-right party came out on top with 48 of the 200 seats in parliamentahead of the Finns Party, which won 46 seats and the Social Democrats, who took 43.

Petteri Orpo, president of the National Coalition Party, celebrates at the party's electoral headquarters after seeing the results of the elections (via AP)
Petteri Orpo, president of the National Coalition Party, celebrates at the party’s electoral headquarters after seeing the election results (via AP) (Antti Aimo-Koivisto /)

Despite outperforming 2019 and being, according to polls, Finland’s most popular prime minister of the century, that success did not secure Marin enough seats in Parliament.

The outgoing prime minister, who in her day became the world’s youngest head of government at 34, He acknowledged his defeat this Sunday: “Congratulations to the winner of the elections, congratulations to the National Coalition, congratulations to the Finns Party, democracy has spoken”, he stated.

“He has made us proud. Before people laughed at us, we were considered an old school party,” said Mo Shimer, a 26-year-old SDP activist.

The participation in the elections on Sunday was 71.9%, similar to the previous elections in 2019.

Traditionally, the formation with the most support among the eight main parties in Parliament usually claims the position of prime minister and tries to form a government. Since the 1990s, that party has always held the post of prime minister.

Historic result of the extreme right

The difference between the three parties was minimal: 20.8% for the center-right, 20.1% for the extreme right, and 19.9% ​​for the Marin SDP.

Greeted with shouts of “Finland! Finland!” ultranationalist leader Riikka Purra congratulated himself in front of his followers for the “best electoral result” in the history of the nationalist party.

Riikka Purra, leader of the nationalist formation (Reuters)
Riikka Purra, leader of the nationalist formation (Reuters) (STAFF /)

Installed for more than 20 years in Finnish political life, the extreme right has broken its record of 19.05% dating from 2011.

Finland, with 5.5 million inhabitants, thus rides the nationalist wave that is sweeping Europe, after the rise of conservatives to power in neighboring Sweden and the victory of the ultra-right in Italy.

Fiscal seriousness and NATO

Set to become the new prime minister after his electoral victory on Sunday, Petteri Orpo is a staunch defender of budgetary rigor, which has become his number one priority.

In a Finland already an unofficial member of the club of the “frugals” or the “stingers”, those European Union countries concerned about budgetary rigor, his arrival could spark some sparks with other partners in Brussels at a moment of paradigm shift. on public spending.

“The most important thing (…) is that we stop increasing the debt,” he told AFP on the sidelines of his campaign.

Forming a government traditionally takes several weeks or even months, so Marin will have to act as interim next week when Finland officially joins NATO.

The election changes nothing from the point of view of the military alliance: all major parties, including The Finns, are now in favor of it since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

(With information from AFP/By Marc Preel and Elias Huuhtanen)

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