Finland’s opposition right-wing National Coalition Party (NCP) is holding a narrow lead in the country’s parliamentary election, with 20.8 percent support from advance ballots, but the early tally is often skewed and the outcome remains a toss-up as counting continues.
The Social Democratic Party (SDP) of Prime Minister Sanna Marin is running second with 20.7 percent support, followed by the nationalist Finns Party at 18.6 percent, with 40.1 percent of the votes counted, justice ministry data showed on Sunday.
Marin, 37, is considered by fans around the world as a millennial role model for progressive new leaders, but at home, she has faced criticism for her government’s public spending and for partying.
If the NCP lead were to hold, its chair Petteri Orpo will get the first chance at forming a coalition to obtain a majority in parliament, and Marin’s era as prime minister would likely come to an end.
The NCP has led in polls for almost two years although its lead melted away in recent months. It has promised to curb spending and stop the rise of public debt, which has reached just over 70 percent of GDP since Marin took office in 2019.
Orpo accused Marin of eroding Finland’s economic resilience at a time when Europe’s energy crisis, driven by Russia’s war in Ukraine, has hit the country hard and the cost of living has increased.