After the opposition National Coalition Party won the parliamentary elections, incumbent Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin admitted defeat.
According to preliminary results provided by the Finnish national network Yle, the National Coalition Party gained 48 seats in parliament, a ten-seat increase from four years earlier, followed by the Finns Party with 46 seats, a seven-seat increase.
Marin’s Social Democratic Party gained three seats, according to the Xinhua news agency.
On Sunday, voter participation was 71.9 percent, significantly lower than in 2019.
Marin surrendered the race shortly after National Coalition Party leader Petteri Orpo declared victory.
“Congratulations to the winner of the elections, congratulations to the National Coalition Party, congratulations to the Finns Party. Democracy has spoken,” the BBC quoted the Prime Minister as saying to her supporters.
Orpo commented on the outcome, saying it was a significant victory for the party and that he was optimistic that the creation of the new administration will begin under his leadership.
Orpo did not divulge the likely composition of the incoming ruling coalition, but stated that the focus of the new administration will be to repair the country’s economy.
Medium-sized parties suffered significant losses: the Centre Party lost eight seats, the Greens lost seven, and the Left Alliance lost five.
The election campaigns centred mostly on economic and social problems.
The National Coalition Party, in particular, emphasised the need of balancing the state budget and avoiding additional debt.
Commentators remarked that coalition discussions might take some time since the combined seats of the two right-wing parties, the National Coalition Party and the Finns Party, fell short of a legislative majority and would require backing from other minor parties.
The election results will be formally announced on Wednesday, and the new Parliament will begin work the following week.
Marin suffered a terrible defeat, but she maintains strong poll ratings and has been generally lauded for pushing Finland towards NATO membership and managing her nation through the Covid-19 outbreak.
Sanna Marin, now 37, became the world’s youngest leader when she entered politics in 2019.
She led a coalition of five female-led parties.