Budapest Post

Cum Deo pro Patria et Libertate
Budapest, Europe and world news

Sanna Marin defeated by Finland's conservatives in tight race

Sanna Marin defeated by Finland's conservatives in tight race

Finnish conservative leader Petteri Orpo has won a nail-biting three-way election race, defeating Prime Minister Sanna Marin's center left.
"We got the biggest mandate," said the leader of the National Coalition Party, after a dramatic night in which the result gradually swung away from Ms Marin's Social Democrats.

Orpo secured 20.8% of the vote, ahead of the right-wing populist Finns Party and the center left.

The populists won a record 20.1%.

It is a bitter defeat for Ms Marin, who increased her party's seats and secured 19.9% of the vote.

She continues to enjoy high poll ratings and has been widely praised for steering Finland towards imminent entry into Nato and navigating her country through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Shortly after the conservative leader claimed victory, the center-left leader conceded the election.

"Congratulations to the winner of the elections, congratulations to the National Coalition Party, congratulations to the Finns Party. Democracy has spoken," she told supporters.

For weeks the three parties had been almost level in the polls, and as the results came in it became too close to call. Then a projection from public broadcaster YLE gave Petteri Orpo's National Coalition victory with the biggest number of seats in parliament.

"I think Finnish people want change. They want change and now I will start negotiations, open negotiations with all parties," he said.

There was a mood of euphoria in the camp, said Matti Koivisto, political correspondent with public broadcaster YLE. "When they saw the projection, it was quite clear they were going to win."

Finns Party leader Riikka Purra congratulated her centre-right rival and was herself delighted with the best result in her party's history.

"We're still challenging to be number one, but seven more seats is an excellent result."

The Finns underlined their success by winning more regions than any other party in mainland Finland. Riikka Purra won more votes than any other candidate and commentators highlighted her party's appeal to young voters by reaching out over social media such as TikTok.

Meanwhile, three of the other parties in the outgoing coalition - the Center Party, Left Alliance and Greens - all rang up big losses.

Now 37, Sanna Marin became the world's youngest leader when she burst on to the political scene in 2019. She headed a coalition of five parties, all led by women.

Despite her successful response to neighbouring Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the election was largely fought on Finland's economy and public debt as all the mainstream parties backed Nato membership.

Many Finns see her as a polarising figure. She came under heavy scrutiny last year when a video emerged of her singing, dancing and drinking at a party. Supporters said the controversy was steeped in sexism and women across Finland and the world shared videos of themselves dancing in solidarity.

Petteri Orpo by contrast has none of Sanna Marin's "rock-star" qualities, says YLE's Matti Koivisto.

"He's a career politician. He's been in the game since the 1990s and he's quite stable and calm. There is criticism that maybe he's too dull and calm, but it also works quite well in Finland."

The conservatives will have the first opportunity in forming a government, and if they succeed, Orpo, 53, will become the next prime minister.

Under an Orpo-led government, Europe could expect a pro-European conservative from the liberal center of his party with an emphasis on economic policy.

Less exciting than Sanna Marin and very moderate, says Vesa Vares, professor of contemporary history at the University of Turku: "A sort of dream son-in-law."

Under Finland's system of proportional representation he will have to muster more than 100 seats in the 200-seat parliament to run the country, and that will not be straightforward.

Orpo really has two choices ahead of him, either forming a right-wing coalition with Riikka Purra's nationalist Finns Party or reaching an agreement with Sanna Marin's Social Democrats.

"The Finns are a very difficult partner because they're so inexperienced and they have MPs who are discontented towards almost anything," says Prof Vares.

"The most natural thing would be to co-operate with the Social Democrats. But [Sanna Marin] used to belong to her party's left wing and it's obvious she doesn't like the conservatives."

Politics researcher Jenni Karimaki of the University of Helsinki also points out that Ms Marin has been reluctant to say what her aspirations are.

The Social Democrats have mixed feelings, she says, because while they increased their seats in parliament, they were unable to become the biggest party and renew their premiership.

"But Finnish political culture is known for its flexibility. They are known for their ability to negotiate and form compromises."
Newsletter

Related Articles

0:00
0:00
Close
Italian Activist Ilaria Salis Returns Home After Election to European Parliament
England Faces Serbia in Euro Opener with Defensive Concerns
Dermatologist Warns Against Sunbed Usage
UK Man Jailed for Non-Consensual Condom Removal
US, Britain, Canada Accuse Russia of Interference in Moldova’s Election
EU Urged to Welcome Skilled Russians to Weaken Putin
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Israel Rescues Four Hostages from Gaza
Emmanuel Macron Calls for Snap Election
Jordan Bardella: Young Far-Right Leader Poised for Future Political Influence in France
Dutch Military Intel Uncovers Extensive Chinese Cyber Espionage
Turkish Student Arrested for Using AI to Cheat in University Exam
Rise in Dengue and Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Europe Due to Climate Change
Far-Right National Rally Dominates France's EU Vote
Macron Calls Snap Legislative Elections After Far-Right Victory
Far-Right Gains Significantly in EU Election
Orban’s Fidesz Party Wins Majority in Hungary’s EU Elections as New Challenger Emerges
Meloni's Far-Right Party Wins European Elections in Italy
Key Insights from the European Union Elections
European Union Elections and Rise of Far-Right Parties
Macron Dissolves Parliament and Calls Snap Elections
Russia Adds Yulia Tymoshenko to Wanted List
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen Assaulted in Central Copenhagen
Germany and France Oppose EU Luxury Car Restrictions to Russia
French Citizen Arrested in Russia for Alleged Military Intelligence Gathering
Germany's Defense Minister Calls for War Preparedness by 2029
Deutsche Bank Revises Eurozone GDP Outlook for 2023
Widening Wealth Gap in Europe
FTI Group Files for Insolvency, Affecting Thousands of Travelers
Germany Announces €23 Billion Tax Cuts to Support Inflation-Hit Households
West Nears Plan to Tap $300bn in Frozen Russian Assets
The European Central Bank (ECB) has cut interest rates for the first time in nearly five years
Putin Warns Against Western Arms Deliveries to Ukraine
Slovak PM Blames Opposition for Assassination Attempt
Study Finds Covid Vaccines May Have Contributed to Excess Deaths
EU Commission Considers Broader Digital Surveillance Measures
Macron to Host Zelensky in Paris for Crucial Talks
Italy's Prime Minister Meloni to Visit Migrant Centers in Albania
Conservatives Plan to Define Sex as Biological in Equality Act
China Accuses MI6 of Recruiting Chinese Government Staff as Spies
Nigel Farage Makes Eighth Attempt to Become UK MP
UK Poll Predicts Historic Victory for Labour Party
Orban Amplifies Anti-NATO Rhetoric Ahead of Elections
Meloni Urges EU Parliament to Adopt Right-Wing Coalition Model
Venice Implements New Tourist Restrictions
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Urges US to Stop 'Smearing' China
Hungary Commits to Enhancing Investment and Trade with Cambodia
The Reality of Social Europe: Homes, Training, and Jobs
China Warns EU Against Tariffs on Electric Vehicles
Chinese EV Makers Target European Market with Competitive Prices
×