Finland to introduce new centre-right coalition government - with far-right Finns Party in key role
Prime Minister Sanna Marin and her centre-left party was ousted from government during elections in April 2023
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The Finns Party agreed to enter the coalition with the conservative centre-right National Coalition Party and two other parties, Swedish People's Party and the Christian Democrats. It comes after outgoing Prime Minister Sanna Marin and her centre-left Social Democratic Party of Finland (SDP) lost the election, held in April 2023, to the National Coalition.
The National Coalition ranked first in the election with 48 seats, with the Finns Party coming second with 46 seats. The SDP fell short with only 43 seats in the final results.
Some had predicted that the National Coalition and SDP could enter into a coalition after the results were confirmed. However, the two parties clashed over major policies on topics such as the economy.
Throughout the election campaign, the SDP advocated for more public health spending, education funding and investing in the workforce despite Finland's struggling budget deficit. The National Coalition and Finns Party on the other hand called for a reduction in spending on unemployment and benefits.
This parallel in policies on the economy ultimately pushed the National Coalition towards working with the far-right party. Under the combined cohort, the coalition will hold more than half of the parliament's seats - 108 out of 200.
National Coalition Party leader, Petteri Orpo, said during a press conference in which the coalition was confirmed: "I am proud of the good programme and the result of the negotiations. We have disagreed on some things and I'm sure we still have disagreements, but what unites us is that we want to put Finland in order."
Negotiations to create the coalition continued for 11 weeks, with the Finns Party and Swedish People's Party clashing on policies around immigration and the environment. The Finns Party backed anti-immigration policies, while the party also took the stance of pulling the country back from hitting its 2035 carbon neutrality target.
Finland recently took the decision to join the NATO security alliance following the beginning of the Ukraine war, in which its neighbouring country Russia invaded Ukraine. However, this looks set to still have the support, and is one of the policies which has cross-party agreement in Finnish politics.
Finns Party leader Riikka Purra said: "I would like to thank my colleagues with whom we have managed to find an agreement."
Marin has been caretaker PM during the 11-week coalition negotiation period. Mr Orpo is due to take over the role imminently. According to Finnish broadcaster Yle, the new government is set to be "probably the most right-wing government” with its stances on economy.