Elections in Finland, Marin defeated by the Conservatives

The Social Democrats ousted by the center-right of Orpo, with the far right becoming the second force in the country

Petteri Orpo, leader of the conservative National Coalition (NCP), won the elections in Finland, defeating the centre-left of Prime Minister Sanna Marin. Orpo’s party won 48 of the 200 seats, according to Sunday’s preliminary count of all votes.

“You know what? This was a big victory,” the former finance minister told party supporters in Helsinki late Sunday evening. “With this achievement, we are starting to build a new government for Finland,” he said.

In second place was the ultra-right Party of Finns led by Rikka Purra with 46 seats, while the Social Democrats of outgoing premier Sanna Marin obtained only 43. Marin conceded defeat, congratulating the winners in a speech to his supporters. “Democracy has spoken,” she said.

Marin, 37, was the youngest prime minister in the world: taking office in 2019, she led a centre-left coalition made up of five parties.

To win a majority in the 200-seat parliament, the winner will likely need the support of one of the other major parties and at least one of the small and medium parties. The negotiations are expected to drag on long after Sunday’s vote. Orpo, unlike Marin, had not ruled out collaborating with the right-wing populist Finns Party.

Marin was a popular leader in Finland, having led the nation through the pandemic and, more recently, its NATO membership.

So far all current NATO members have approved the accession of Finland, which will soon officially join the defense alliance.