Center-right National Coalition Party leader Petteri Orpo expected to get first shot at forming a government.
Finland’s center-right National Coalition Party was on course to take power in a general election Sunday after voter concerns about the economic outlook fed dissatisfaction with Social Democrat incumbent Sanna Marin, a star of the European left.
With 99 percent of votes counted, the National Coalition Party (NCP) under the leadership of Petteri Orpo had secured 48 of Finland’s 200 parliamentary seats, pushing Marin’s party into third place with 43. The far-right Finns Party was second with 46 seats.
The defeat of Marin would represent the latest blow for the European left with Germany’s Olaf Scholz under pressure at home and Sweden’s Magdalena Andersson voted out at a general election last September. Denmark’s Mette Frederiksen won a second term last fall only after a sharp shift to the political right.
Marin pushed a traditional left-leaning campaign in the run-up to Sunday’s vote, railing against proposed public spending cuts by the center-right and calling on Finns to back fiscal investments she said would lead to greater employment and economic growth.
But in the end, fears about rising public debt, a deep-seated concern in Finland, appeared to have undermined Marin’s prospects with NCP leader Orpo’s messaging on fiscal discipline winning voters to his side.