Finland's Popular, Young Prime Minister Ousted

Sanna Marin's party comes in 3rd place
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 3, 2023 12:09 AM CDT
Finland's Young Prime Minister Ousted
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, Social Democratic Party chair, center, reacts as she watches results of exit polls in Helsinki, Finland, Sunday, April 2, 2023.   (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

Finland's main conservative party claimed victory in parliamentary elections Sunday in a tight three-way race that saw right-wing populists take second place, leaving Prime Minister Sanna Marin's Social Democratic Party in third, dashing her hopes for reelection, the AP reports. The center-right National Coalition Party (NCP) claimed victory with all of the votes counted, coming out on top at 20.8%. They were followed by right-wing populist party The Finns with 20.1%, while the Social Democrats garnered 19.9%. With the top three parties each getting around 20% of the vote, no party is in position to form a government alone. Over 2,400 candidates from 22 parties were vying for the 200 seats in the Nordic country’s parliament.

“Based on this result, talks over forming a new government to Finland will be initiated under the leadership of the National Coalition Party,” said the party's elated leader Petteri Orpo, as he claimed victory surrounded by supporters gathered in a restaurant in the capital, Helsinki. Observers say the result means a power shift in Finland's political scene as the nation is now likely to get a new center-right government with nationalist tones. The government will replace the center-left Cabinet by Marin, a highly popular prime minister at home and abroad since 2019. Marin, who at age 37 is one of Europe’s youngest leaders, has received international praise for her vocal support of Ukraine and her prominent role, along with President Sauli Niinistö, in advocating for Finland’s successful application to join NATO.

The 53-year-old Orpo, Finland's former finance minister and likely new prime minister, assured that the Nordic country's solidarity with Kyiv would remain strong during his tenure. “First to Ukraine: we stand by you, with you," Orpo told the AP at NCP's victory event. “We cannot accept this terrible war. And we will do all that is needed to help Ukraine, Ukrainian people because they fight for us. This is clear.” Finland, which shares a long border with Russia, cleared the last hurdles of becoming a NATO member earlier in the week as alliance members Turkey and Hungary signed off the country's membership bid.

(More Sanna Marin stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.