Reassessing Sanna Marin’s Election Loss and the Future of Finland in NATO

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Sanna Marin, Finland’s 34-year-old prime minister, is poised to step down following a surprising election loss Sunday. Despite holding a tight lead going into the polls, Marin’s Social Democratic Party was beat out by the National Coalition Party of Petteri Orpo, which boasted some 20,000 more votes.

It appears, however, that Marin’s four-year term as prime minister was anything but a loss, as the country enjoyed an economic boom and shifted its military posture to align more closely to NATO-member countries. Marin led Finland through the coronavirus pandemic, garnering global praise for the government’s successful response, and saw her nation earn the distinction of being the world’s youngest sitting prime minister when she was first elected in 2019.

Orpo, 53, is expected to now become Finland’s prime minister. The National Coalition Party, Orpo’s party, is traditionally the party that forms the government after an election. Orpo, who previously served as the country’s finance minister, has proposed prioritizing Finland’s economy and fighting inflation.

The Finns Party, which called for a hard line on immigration and reducing dependence on the European Union, came in second on Sunday. Leader Riikka Purra, who’s become increasingly popular on social media, hailed the election results as the party’s “best ever.”

Marin’s loss comes at an important time for Finland on the world stage, with the country set to soon join NATO and as Russia invades Ukraine. The move to NATO has been welcomed by Orpo, who was quick to emphasize that Finland’s support for Ukraine will remain strong, despite the change in leadership.

The Company:
The National Coalition Party of Petteri Orpo is a centre-right party in the Finnish Parliament which draws support from urban and rural areas. The party is traditionally pro-business, favouring tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, and their economic policy focuses on economic growth with financial discipline. They are also in favour of reducing dependence on the European Union and reducing immigration rates, although they also embrace international trade agreements.

The Person:
Petteri Orpo is a Finnish politician and the leader of the National Coalition Party. He is expected to become prime minister after the party’s recent election victory. Orpo served as the country’s finance minister from 2016 to 2019, during which time he proposed prioritizing Finland’s economy and fighting inflation. He is also in favour of joining NATO and has stated that Finland’s support for Ukraine will remain strong, despite the change in leadership.