With 93.4 percent of the vote counted, Marin conceded defeat, while Orbo’s party looks set to win more seats in parliament.
Petteri Orpo, leader of Finland’s right-wing opposition National Alliance party, has claimed victory in the Nordic country’s hard-fought parliamentary election.
“We’ve got a huge mandate,” Orbo said in a speech to followers on Sunday.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin of the ruling Social Democratic Party has conceded defeat in Finland’s parliamentary elections.
“Congratulations, congratulations to the winners of the election [conservative] Congratulations to the National Alliance Party [far-right] Finns party. Democracy has spoken,” Marin told his supporters.
With 93.4 percent of the votes counted, Orbo’s party looks set to win 48 of the 200 seats in parliament. According to Justice Ministry election data, the party has 20.5 percent of the votes cast.
With the top three parties expected to get 20 percent of the vote each, no party is in a position to form a government on its own.
“Based on this decision, negotiations on forming a new government in Finland will be started under the leadership of the National Alliance Party,” Arbo said of the victory, surrounded by supporters.
The National Alliance came out on top with 20.7 percent, followed closely by the right-wing populist party The Finns with 20.1 percent and the Social Democrats with 19.9 percent.
Marin, 37, is seen by fans around the world as a millennial role model for progressive new leaders, but at home, he has faced criticism for his government’s public spending and partying.
If the NCP takes the lead, Orpo will have its first chance to form a coalition to secure a majority in parliament, ending Marin’s prime ministerial era.
The NCP led the polls for nearly two years, though its lead has melted away in recent months. Since taking office in 2019, Marin has pledged to curb the rise in public debt, which has reached just 70 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), and rein in spending.
Orpo accused Marin of undermining Finland’s economic resilience at a time when Europe’s energy crisis, fueled by Russia’s war in Ukraine, has hit the country hard and raised the cost of living.