Finland: PM Marin loses election

In the Finnish parliamentary elections, the current government has been voted out of office — despite the popularity of its leader. Sanna Marin’s Social Democrats came in third, just behind the right-wing populist The Finns. The winner of the election is the National Coalition Party. Its leader Petteri Orpo is now set to become the new prime minister — provided he can find a coalition partner.

Yle (FI) /

Cutting back is popular

A majority of the electorate voted for austerity, says Yle:

“The conservative National Coalition Party advocated cuts in the election campaign. The election results show that the national debt is the biggest concern for more than a fifth of Finns. The flip side of the austerity policy an inevitable reduction in state benefits and tighter living standards for Finns who live off social security. ... For the first time the right-wing populist party The Finns has secured over 20 percent of the vote. ... The party’s line on economic policy is not very clear, but it promises to reduce unnecessary expenditures. The party is more willing to accept a shrinking of the Finnish economy than to bring in workers from abroad.”

Maria Steenroos
Turun Sanomat (FI) /

The next weeks will be tense

The contrasting positions on fiscal policy will make coalition building difficult, Turun Sanomat explains:

“There are major differences over the conclusions to be drawn from the current situation. The right demands adjustment measures, the left rejects cuts in social security and social benefits. ... This spring remains very tense politically, because the negotiations to form a government are expected to be difficult. None of the parties has won a mandate with an overwhelming majority, and at least two of the three major parties will have to find a consensus after the election. The parties have already ruled out [certain] potential government partners, so the options are becoming limited.”