Finland shifts to the right after Sunday elections
Finland's prime minister Matti Vanhanen and his Centre Party have won the parliamentary elections by a margin of one percent, with the boost to the conservative opposition party sparking expections of a shift to the right in the Nordic country's government.
The ruling Centre Party received 23.1 percent of votes on Sunday (18 March), followed closely by the The Conservative National Coalition Party (22.2%) and the Social Democrats (21.5%).
Dear EUobserver reader
Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.
Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.
- Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
- All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
- EUobserver archives
EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.
♡ We value your support.
If you already have an account click here to login.
Both current coalition partners - Mr Vanhanen's party plus the social democrats - lost seats in the 200-member parliament, while the conservatives will be represented by ten more MPs compared to the 2003 elections.
Insiders point out that the poll result could see the social democrats pushed to the opposition for the first time in more than a decade.
"The people wanted the Conservatives to grow, that should also be reflected in the government," said the right-wing party's leader Jyrki Katainen, adding "I think it would be very odd if we were not in the next government," according to the BBC.
For his part, Mr Vanhanen told media that "all options are open."
The country of 5.3 million citizens features among the best economic performers in the EU, particularly praised for positive achievements in innovation and education.
The pre-election campaign was dominated by a debate about the country's state of care for the elderly and welfare, including further tax cuts the government aims to introduce.