Finnish PM admits defeat by conservatives in parliamentary elections

(Update: Adds results of vote count)

Helsinki, Apr 2 (EFE).- Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin on Sunday acknowledged her party’s defeat in Sunday’s legislative election, congratulating the conservative Kokoomus party and its leader Petteri Orpo on their win although the vote count has not yet been finalized and saying that she is ready to form a coalition with them to govern the Scandanavian nation with a long land border with Russia and whose entry into NATO was recently approved by the 30-member Atlantic Alliance.

With 94.7 percent of the votes counted, Orpo’s conservatives were leading in the polls with 20.6 percent of the votes and 48 seats in the 200-seat unicameral Parliament, while the ultrarightist Finns Party had garnered 20.2 percent of the votes and 46 seats.

Despite the loss to the conservative parties, the Social Democratic (SDP) leader said that she was very happy with the results of the vote, noting that her party had performed well because it increased its public support by 2.2 percent to 19.9 percent and the number of seats it holds in Parliament by 3 to 46.

She predicted difficult negotiations to form a new government, although she expressed confidence that the parties will be able to reach an agreement that will guarantee a parliamentary majority.

“My party has won support and we have more representatives in Parliament, such that, as leader of the party, I’m very happy,” Marin told international reporters in initial comments once the vote count was quite far along.

Earlier in the evening, Kokoomus and the SDP had been virtually tied with 40.1 percent of the vote counted, with the conservatives obtaining 20.8 percent of the votes and holding a two-seat advantage in Parliament, while the Social Democrats had garnered 20.7 percent of the votes, 2.1 percent more than the ultrarightist Finns Party, but the latter picked up voting percentage as the vote count progressed.

The Center Party, the main coalition partner for Marin’s government, was in fourth place with about 11.6 percent of the votes, 2.1 percent less than it obtained during the 2019 elections and an outcome that – if born out by the final vote count – would mean that it loses 8 seats in Parliament, leaving it with 23, and having suffered its worst balloting in history.

The latest published voter survey had put the Finns Party in second place – almost tied with Kokoomus – in the yet-to-be-held election, and it does appear that they have lived up to those expectations, making them the second largest party in Parliament, at least in terms of public support.

Meanwhile, The Greens, of which Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto is a member, lost 4.1 percent and 7 seats and are standing at 7.3 percent in the vote count, exceeded by the Alliance of the Left, headed by Education Minister Li Andersson, which has 8 percent support but lost 5 seats in Parliament.

Several smaller parties that have managed to achieve parliamentary representation appear to be the Eduskunta (Parliament) party of Christian Democrats with 4.4 percent, the Popular Swedish Party with 3.8 percent – maintaining its 9 seats in Parliament – and the Liike Nyt (Movement Now) party with 2 percent.

These results correspond to the anticipated balloting, in which 1.7 million Finns, equivalent to 40.5 percent of the country’s eligible voting population of 4.5 million, were expected to vote over the past week, with those results released after the closure of the polls Sunday evening at 8 pm.

Election authorities expect that the vote count will be completed about midnight local time (2100 GMT).

EFE jg-ssk/jam/bp

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