Finland’s PM Marin concedes defeat as right-wing NCP wins election

Finland’s PM Marin concedes defeat as right-wing NCP wins election
Опубликовано: Tuesday, 04 April 2023 07:03

Finland’s left-wing Prime Minster Sanna Marin conceded defeat in Sunday’s (2 April) parliamentary elections. The opposition right-wing National Coalition Party won victory in a closely fought race.

Pro-business NCP was expected win 48 of 200 parliament seats. This is narrowly ahead nationalist Finns Party, which has 46 seats, and Marin’s Social Democrats, who have 43. Justice ministry election data shows that all ballots were counted.

"We got the largest mandate," NCP leader Petteri Oderpo stated in a speech to his followers. He pledged to "fix Finland’s economy".

As Marin’s tenure as prime minister is expected to end, he will have the chance to form a coalition in order to win majority in parliament.

"We have gained support, and we have won more seats (in parliament). Even if we didn’t finish first today, that’s an outstanding achievement," the prime minister stated in a speech to party members.

Marin, 37, was the world’s youngest prime minster when she assumed office in 2019. She is regarded by her fans as a role model for millennial progressive leaders. However, she has been criticized at home for her partying and government’s spending.

Despite being popular with many Finns, especially young moderates, she has angered some conservatives by lavish spending on education and pensions they consider not sufficient.

Although the NCP led polls for nearly two years, its lead has waned in recent months. It has pledged to reduce spending and stop the increase in public debt that has risen to just over 70% of GDP ever since Marin was elected in 2019.

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Orpo charged Marin with eroding Finland’s economic resilience during a time in which Europe’s energy crisis, triggered by Russia’s war against Ukraine, has severely hit the country and the cost to live has increased.

Orpo stated that he will work with all parties to get a majority in parliament. Marin, however, said her Social Democrats could govern with the NCP, but not with the Finns Party.

During a January debate, Marin called the Finns Party "openly racially" — an accusation that the nationalist group refuted.

The main objective of the Finns Party is to reduce what Riikka Purra, its leader, has called "harmful" migration from developing countries that are not members of the European Union. It calls for austerity policies in order to reduce deficit spending, which is a position it shares with NCP.

Marin’s most notable foreign policy action was her push with President Sauli Ninisto for the country’s to make a pivotal policy U-turn and seek NATO membership after Russia’s invasion.

This process is almost complete. Helsinki will join the Western defense alliance within days of all 30 Western members having approved their accession.

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