General Elections

2 April 2023


  • Unicameral parliament in unitary parliamentary republic; 200 members elected for 4-year terms.
  • Proportional voting system, no set vote threshold to enter parliament but the number of seats in the 13 electoral districts are based on population size (except Aland, which always has one).
  • President appoints the Prime Minister after the election based on coalition formation; Parliament approves the PM and cabinet, oversees the government led by the PM.
  • Incumbent: coalition of Social Democratic Party, Centre Party, Green League, Left Alliance, and Swedish People’s Party, led by Prime Minister Sanna Marin (Social Democratic Party).


  • National Coalition Party (KOK): center-right; liberal-conservative; support fiscal austerity; emphasize market economy; moderate immigration policy; pro-EU; pro-NATO membership.
  • Social Democratic Party of Finland (SDP): center-left; social democracy; socially liberal; moderate immigration policy; pro-EU; pro-NATO membership.
  • Finns Party/True Finns (PS): nationalist; populist; socially conservative; support fiscal austerity; anti-immigration; support leaving the European Union; pro-NATO membership.
  • Centre Party (KESK): center; agrarian roots; decentralization and limited state intervention; relatively pro-EU but opposed to more integration; pro-NATO membership.
  • Green League (VIHR): center-left; green economy; socially liberal; pro-immigration; pro-EU in a more federal form; pro-NATO membership.
  • Left Alliance (VAS): left-wing; democratic socialist; pro-NATO membership but with caveats; pro-EU.

Impact on U.S. Interests

  • The election is not likely to have a significant impact on Finland’s pending NATO membership. Many political parties were historically opposed to joining but lifted their opposition following Russia’s renewed invasion of February 24, 2022. The one near-exception is the Left Alliance, which has some members opposed and whose overall position is to support membership but without stationing troops or new bases on Finnish soil.
  • Finnish political parties are aligned in their support for Ukraine and opposition to Russia’s war, but a pro-austerity government may be less inclined to spend on aid to Ukraine.
  • Most major parties are pro-EU but one, the nationalist Finns Party, is explicitly Euroskeptic. If they were to join a governing coalition, it could lead to Finnish opposition for initiatives that would deepen European integration, such as joint EU debt or introducing qualified majority decision-making.
  • The United States is Finland’s third largest market for exports and seventh largest source for imports. In 2021, trade in goods and services between the two was roughly $11.6 billion.

Key Issues to Watch

  • 2019 election. In the last parliamentary election, the SDP won a plurality by a tiny 0.2% margin over the Finns Party (17.7% to 17.5%), with the center-right National Coalition Party just behind at 17%. The then-leader of the SDP, Anti Rinne, formed a coalition with the Centre Party, Greens, Left Alliance, and Swedish People’s Party, and became the country’s first left-wing prime minister in two decades. Rinne resigned only a few months later at the demand of the Centre Party because of his handling of a postal strike. The SDP selected Sanna Marin, then the transportation minister, to become the new prime minister, a post she retains today.
  • Three-way race. According to the latest polls, three parties are within a single percentage point of one another: the National Coalition Party led by Petteri Orpo (19.8%); the governing, center-left SDP led by Marin (19.2%); and the nationalist Finns Party led by Riikka Purra (19.2%). The Finns Party has been growing in popularity since early 2022, while the National Coalition’s Party’s popularity has declined.
  • Public spending vs. austerity. The main issue in the campaign has been the government’s stewardship of the economy. With consumer price inflation increasing and mild recession possible, the National Coalition Party has run on a platform of fiscal austerity and public debt reduction. The SDP’s platform would not cut benefits and would seek to close tax loopholes to ensure sufficient revenue.
  • Coalition Formation. If polls hold and the National Coalition Party (KOK) wins a plurality, they would not necessarily court the Finns Party as a governing partner, given the latter’s more extreme views on immigration and the European Union—although, unlike 2019, the KOK has declined to explicitly rule out a partnership. A coalition featuring the KOK and SDP along with junior parties like the Green League would also be possible. In any case, coalition talks could last for weeks after the election.


Remote Visualization

Data source: Politico.