Finnish General Election: Social Democrats Claim Victory

Antti Rinne is on course to be Finland’s first leftwing prime minister in 20 years.

Anttoni James Numminen | Tue, 16 Apr 2019

By Jukka-Pekka, courtesy of SDP

The centre-left Social Democratic Party (SDP) has claimed victory in the Finnish general election winning by a thin majority of 17.7%.

“For the first time since 1999, we are the largest party in Finland … SDP is the prime minister party,” Antti Rinne said.

The hard-right, Eurosceptic Finns party came in second place with 17.5%, gaining just one seat less than the SDP.

Government parties took a beating with the prime minister’s Centre party losing 13 seats, resulting in his party’s worst ever general election result. Coalition partner Blue Reform was obliterated, gaining only 1% in the polls and no seats while the third government partner the National Coalition Party emerged from four years in power relatively unscathed gaining one seat and finishing on 38 seats.

Major gains were also made by the Greens and the Left Alliance, finishing with 11.5% and 8.2% of the vote respectively.

The election seated a record number of women. This translates as 46% or 92 seats in the Finnish Parliament, up from the previous record of 85 in 2011.

With five medium-sized parties, negotiations to form the next coalition government are set to be difficult and drawn out. To complicate matters, most parties including the Greens and the Left Alliance have ruled out joining a coalition with the Finns party.

This means that if Rinne is to gain a workable majority, he will likely have to go into coalition with at least the Centre party or the National Coalition Party, the former of which may be anxious about going straight back into government having lost so many seats.

However, the SDP will be anxious to form a government as swiftly as possible with European parliament elections less than two months away and with Finland set to begin its third presidency of the Council of the European Union in July.

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