The incumbent prime minister appears to have been ousted despite the 37-year-old was frequently praised as the country’s most popular prime minister in the 2000s.
After narrowly defeating his rivals, the leader of Finland’s liberal-conservative National Coalition Party promised to be open to talks with all parties. However, despite their differences, the nationalist Finns Party emerged as the most likely candidate to create a ruling coalition.
The Finnish population seems to be in favor of a power shift, as the liberal-conservative National Coalition Party emerged as Sunday’s victor in the tightly contested parliamentary election.
The National Coalition of Petteri Orpo narrowly defeated the Social Democrats of outgoing Prime Minister Sanna Marin and the nationalist Finns by less than one percent (20.8, 20.1, and 19.9, respectively).
“Do you know what? It was a win,” Orpo told his cheering supporters, as quoted by Finnish media. He also expressed his openness to engaging in talks with all parties, interpreting the election results as a sign that the Finns “want changes.”
Orpo now has the option of forming a coalition with either of his main rivals because the smaller parties on Finland’s political horizon—the Centre Party, the Left Alliance, and the Greens, which acted as the Social Democrats’ sidekicks during their time in power—all suffered significant losses after their participation in the current five-party coalition.
On the promise of implementing a new economic strategy, he ran on a program promising to address Finland’s issues with the nation’s mounting debt and to hasten economic growth. He also supports cutting back on handouts and welfare.
This would make an alliance with the Social Democrats very unlikely, given the parties’ wildly divergent views on state finances and the need for budget cuts. Instead of slimming down welfare, Marin’s party wants to increase taxes further. Even National Coalition activists themselves dismissed the perspective of forming a so-called “blue-red” government.
However, after winning the election, Orpo made it clear that he was willing to work with the Finns Party as allies by eschewing the “far-right” categorization that is frequently used by media and saying that he “doesn’t see” any such parties in Finland.
Despite being repeatedly praised as the country’s most popular prime minister in the 2000s and compared to a “rock star” because of her penchant for glamorous photo shoots, magazine cover appearances, and fans swarming to take selfies with her during public events, incumbent Prime Minister Sanna Marin, 37, appears to have lost her job.