Finnish Opposition Conservatives Triumph in Local Elections

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Finland’s conservative National Coalition Party came out on top in the Nordic nation’s countrywide local elections.

The opposition party garnered 21.3% of the vote, more than it had in the previous municipal vote four years ago. Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Social Democrats were second ahead of Finance Minister Annika Saarikko’s Center Party after more than 99% of ballots were counted.

Finnish Opposition Conservatives Triumph in Local Elections

In Sunday’s election, more than 8,800 people were chosen to 293 councils across the country to decide on issues including zoning plans and primary health care. It was also the first election into which Marin, 35, steered her party as leader. The vote was moved from mid-April to June to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Marin said she was disappointed with the result, while National Coalition’s leader Petteri Orpo declared victory. He said the outcome shows Finns want an alternative to the left-leaning government that’s heavily stimulating the economy and allowing government debt to grow.

“What worries people on a national level is irresponsible fiscal policy,” Orpo said. “That same concern is felt on the municipal level. People want councilors to carry out responsible economic policies.”

The Finns Party took fourth place with 14.5% backing, lower than suggested by polls ahead of the vote, but almost 6 percentage points higher than in 2017.

The turnout was about 55%, the lowest since the 1940s.

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