The 2019 Finnish parliamentary elections saw the Social Democrats emerge as the narrow winners by a margin of 0.2 percent. Led by former Finance Minister Antti Rinne, they received 17.7 percent of the popular vote, or 545,544 votes. Their opponents, the Finns Party, led by Jussi Kristian Halla-aho (a member of the European Parliament), received 17.5 percent of the votes, or 538,731 votes. This translated into 39 seats for the Finns and 40 seats for the Social Democrats. The center-right National Coalition Party, chaired by Petteri Orpo, came in third place with 17.0 percent or 523,446 votes (38 seats). The Centre Party, incumbent Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s party, came in fourth place with only 13.8 percent of the vote and a loss of 18 seats, now down to 31 seats.
The three leading parties increased their presence in the parliament, notably 6 new seats for the Social Democrats. The Greens and the Left Alliance also increased their share of the vote, gaining 5 and 4 new seats respectively. The outgoing prime minister has announced he will step down as head of the Centre Party in light of the heavy losses incurred in the election. The results could hint that a modest center-left renaissance may be at play in some Nordic countries, given that the Social Democrats, the Greens, and the Left Alliance are the parties that gained the most seats (versus only one for the Finns, for example).
However, the frontrunners will now have to form a coalition, which will prove difficult after five parties have expressed their unwillingness to include the conservative, anti-immigration Finns Party in the new government (the Social Democrats, National Coalition Party, Green League, Left Alliance, and Swedish People's Party). Immigration, climate change, and social welfare were the main points of contention during the campaign that may carry over to the coalition formation; the divisions in the political spectrum could make this formation difficult, dragging it out for weeks. And though the EU parliament elections are on the horizon, they seem to come as second-order elections in Finland; they are expected to simply reflect the parliamentary elections’ results. Nevertheless, the EU rotating presidency—which Finland will assume in July—will likely be led by a liberal-minded, pro-European government.