Finland's PM Sanna Marin, who steered her country to NATO, loses election

Finland Prime Minister Sanna Marin has recognised the defeat of her Social Democratic Party (SDP) at the parliamentary elections on Sunday.
Finland's PM Sanna Marin, who steered her country to NATO, loses election

Sanna Marin, the prime minister of Finland, acknowledged the loss of her Social Democratic Party (SDP) on Sunday in the parliamentary election and addressed her supporters by saying "Democracy has spoken". 

Marin also expressed her gratitude towards her supporters and acknowledged the victory of Peteri Orpo's National Coalition Party (NCP). Finland conducted its parliamentary elections on April 2, and while the preliminary results are expected to be announced later in the day, the official results are scheduled for release on April 5.

Addressing her party members, the PM acknowledged that even though her party did not finish first in the elections, they had gained support and won more seats in parliament, which she considered an outstanding achievement.

In the recently concluded election, the main conservative party, the NCP, emerged victorious in a closely contested three-way race. The right-wing populist party, The Finns, secured the second position with the Social Democratic Party of Prime Minister Sanna Marin coming in third, shattering her hopes of reelection.

The NCP claimed victory with 20.8% of the votes, followed by The Finns with 20.1% and the Social Democrats with 19.9%. However, with the parties only reaching the 20% mark, no single party can form a government independently. The elections witnessed 2,400 candidates from 22 parties competing for the 200 seats in Finland's parliament.

In a speech to his supporters, NCP leader Petteri Orpo proclaimed that his party had received the most significant mandate in the recent Finnish parliamentary elections. He promised to improve Finland's economy and "fix" the country. As Prime Minister Sanna Marin's era was expected to come to an end, Orpo would have the first opportunity to form a coalition to secure a majority in parliament.

Petteri Orpo, Finland's former finance minister and the probable new prime minister, has assured that Finland's support for Kyiv would remain strong during his tenure. Speaking to the Associated Press at NCP's victory event, the 53-year-old leader stated that they stand with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in their fight against Russia. He also conveyed a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, urging him to leave Ukraine as he would ultimately face defeat.

Finland, which shares a long border with Russia, recently overcame the final hurdles to become a member of NATO, with Turkey and Hungary signing off the country's membership bid earlier in the week.

NCP secured 48 seats in the Eduskunta, Finland's Parliament. The Finns, a nationalist party that largely campaigned on an anti-immigration and anti-European Union agenda, will obtain 46 seats, while Marin's Social Democrats will have 43 seats.

Government formation talks led by the NCP are expected to start in the coming days with goal of putting together a Cabinet enjoying a majority at the Parliament.

“I trust the Finnish tradition of negotiating with all parties, and trying to find the best possible majority government for Finland,” Orpo told the AP.

“And you know what is important for us? It’s that we are an active member of the European Union. We build up NATO-Finland, and we fix our economy. We boost our economic growth and create new jobs. These are the crucial, main, important issues we have to write into the government program,” he said.

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