The Social Democratic Party (SDP) won a narrow victory in Finland’s general election on Sunday. The race between different parties was very tight as SDP got 17.7 percent of the vote and 40 seats in the 200-seat parliament, and the second biggest party, the far-right Finns Party, got 17.5 percent and 39 seats.
The entire political opposition, including the SDP, the Finns Party, the Greens and the Left Alliance, won more seats than in the last general election.
The biggest loser of the election was the leading party of the last government, the Centre Party, with 13.8 percent of the vote. Their main partner in the previous government, the center-right and conservative National Coalition Party, did not suffer the same defeat and finished in third place, with 17 percent support. The Blue Reform, which split from the Finns Party two years ago, did not win a single seat in the election.
The overall voter turnout was 72 percent, up from 70 percent in the last general election in 2015. Women won a record number of seats in the parliament, 92 out of 200.
New government just before the EU Presidency
The result is not easy for Finland’s coming EU Presidency, which begins on 1 July. The negotiations to form a government coalition will likely be difficult and lengthy, with the three biggest parties so close to each other in terms of seats, and all of them having traditionally tense relations with each other.
“This means that the new government may not have very strong ownership over Finland’s Presidency Programme. The Programme has been developed since last year in a joint parliamentary process involving all parties, in order to ensure that the new government can at the minimum live with it”, says Fingo’s advocacy specialist Jussi Kanner.
Election result 2019
- SDP 40 seats
- Finns Party 39 seats
- National Coalition Party 38 seats
- Central Party 31 seats
- Greens 20 seats
- Left Alliance 16 seats
- Swedish People’s Party 9 seats
- Christian Democrats 5 seats
- Others 2 seats