Finland looking to form new government by end of May

Antti Rinne, chairman of the Finnish Social Democratic Party, said on Monday he hoped to be able to form a new government by the end of May.

The Social Democratic Party emerged as the largest party in parliament following the general election on Sunday, with 40 seats out of the 200 in total.

It was followed narrowly by the populist Finns Party, with 39 seats, and the conservative National Coalition Party, with 38 seats.

The Center Party led by the current prime minister Juha Sipila suffered a major defeat and would have 31 seats, which is the smallest parliamentary group for over 100 years.

The check-up counting of ballots on Monday brought no changes.

In Lapland, a candidate of the Green Party was only a few votes behind a centrist and in Pori a centrist just behind a social democrat, but Monday’s check-up countings confirmed Sunday’s results, local media reported. The final results will be officially confirmed on Wednesday.


Helsinki, the capital of Finland, became a prime example of the polarization of the country. Observers on Monday said the polarization of Helsinki should be in no one’s interest.

The populist Finns Party narrowly became the second biggest party in parliament, but only got some 12 percent of the votes in Helsinki. Its backing roots mainly in a few suburbs where the impact of segregation and a large immigrant population has been tangible.

While the populist leader Jussi Halla-aho won 30,527 votes in the city and exceeded the personal record attained by President Sauli Niinisto when he was a conservative MP candidate earlier, the value-liberal character of the capital increased at the same time.

The Green Party replaced the conservatives as the largest here, and got 23.5 percent of the votes. Their backing in the national level was much smaller.

As part of the trend, Left Alliance grew in Helsinki, and also most of the conservative and social democratic candidates elected in Helsinki were value-liberals.


Likely to be the next prime minister, Rinne told Finnish media on Monday that unofficial contacts between the parties began already prior to the election. Rinne is considered an experienced trade union negotiator and he said he has a “hunch” that there could be political will for an easy way forward.

Rinne said earlier on Monday he saw the inclusion of the populist Finns Party in the government as “unlikely”.

The chairman of the anti-immigration Finns Party, Jussi Halla-aho said on Monday his party would be willing to make compromises on the immigration issue.

Local commentators have noted the social democrats are likely to try to form a cabinet that includes the Green Party, either the conservatives or the centrists, and a smaller non-socialist party, probably the Swedish people’s party.

The inclusion of the also-winning Left Alliance is not that certain. The smaller than expected winning margin of the social democrats has improved the bargaining position of both the centrists and the conservatives.

Despite their bad result, the Center did not announce an outright option to stay in opposition. Talking to international media, Markku Jokisipila, director of the Center for Parliamentary Studies of Turku University, noted the traditional social policy line of the Center Party has favored cooperation with the political left.

The Center’s defeat was attributed to a public reaction against its right wing economic and social policies that Sipila started pushing for in 2015.

Rinne said on Monday he wanted to improve the mood of the labor market to counter the impact of Sipila’s governmental policies. He pledged to offer a framework for labor market talks that would create a joint vista for employers and wage earners.

The social democrats would have difficulty in accommodating the conservative party’s economic policies to their agenda. Leading conservatives repeated on Monday that they would not join a government that increases taxes.