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Finland PM Sanna Marin accepts defeat

The National Coalition Party (NCP), the opposition right-wing party, declared victory in the closely contested election, while Finland’s left-wing Prime Minister Sanna Marin accepted defeat.

Assuming all votes were counted, the pro-business NCP was projected to win 48 of the 200 members in parliament, narrowly beating out the nationalist Finns Party with 46 seats and Marin’s Social Democrats with 43 seats.

In a speech to supporters, NCP leader Petteri Orpo declared, “We have the biggest mandate,” promising to “repair Finland” and its economy.

While Marin’s tenure as prime minister was anticipated to come to an end, he will have the first opportunity to put together a coalition and win a majority in the legislature.

We have increased our support and our number of seats (in parliament). Even though we did not come in first place today, that is still a fantastic accomplishment, the prime minister remarked in a speech to party members.

A millennial role model for progressive new leaders, Marin, 37, was the youngest prime minister in the history of the world when she entered office in 2019. Yet, at home, she has come under fire for her excessive partying and her government’s public spending. While she continues to have great popularity among many Finns, especially among young moderates, she alienated some conservatives with her extravagant spending on pensions and education, which they viewed as being insufficiently economical.

Although losing ground in recent months, the NCP has led in polls for almost two years. When Marin took office in 2019, the state debt, which now stands at just over 70% of GDP, has been promised to be reduced.

Orpo charged Marin with weakening Finland’s economic resilience at a time when the country has been heavily impacted by Europe’s energy crisis brought on by Russia’s war in Ukraine and the cost of living has gone up.

Orpo has stated that he will work with all parties to gain a majority in the legislature, whereas Marin has stated that her Social Democrats may form a coalition with the NCP but not with the Finns Party.

At a debate in January, Marin referred to the Finns Party as “openly racist,” a charge that the nationalist movement denied. The principal objective of the Finns Party is to lessen immigration from what its leader Riikka Purra has dubbed “harmful” non-EU developing nations. Together with the NCP, it advocates for austerity measures to reduce deficit expenditure. The most prominent of Marin’s foreign policy initiatives has been her and President Sauli Niinisto’s insistence that following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the nation undertake a historic policy U-turn by applying for NATO membership. Now that all 30 members of the Western Defense Alliance have approved Helsinki’s admission, that procedure is practically over, and Helsinki is anticipated to join within days.

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