2007 marks 100 years of democratic elections in Finland, and with all votes now counted, the night’s big winner is the centre-right National Coalition party led by Yurki Katainen
They were in power with the Social Democrats four years ago only to be elbowed out by Matti Vanhanen’s centrists.
They have now overtaken the centre-left to become Finland’s second-biggest party, and in the coming coalition talks they may be able to negotiate their way back into government.
It appears, as leader of the biggest party, the
outgoing Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen may hold onto his job. His centrists have done poorly, but well enough to be able to call the shots in forming a new government.
Four years ago Vanhanen led his party into government, breaking the coalition monopoly held by the centre-left and centre-right. It appears he has done enough tonight, but only just.
However the leader of the social democrats, Eero Haynaluoma, has seen support for his party weaken, and he may find himself edged out of a coalition. If this happens, the Social Democrats will be out of government, for the first time in many years.
It is the first time all the three big players in Finnish politics have been so close, with barely a hair’s breadth between them.
The centrists ended up with just over 23 percent, the conservatives a shade over 22, and the social democrats lost second party status, losing over three percent.
The swing right saw the small nationalist party picking up two and a half percent, but the Greens, who had polled strongly, saw their share of the vote only rise by half a percentage point.