Mr Nosherwan Adil is a Ph.D. scholar at the Department of Political & International Relations at the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI).
National Coalition Party in Power
The governance of Prime Minister Sanna Marin comes to an end as the National Coalition Party (NCP) secures the top position in the closely fought 2023 parliamentary elections of Finland. The center-right NCP placed first by securing 48 seats followed by Rikka Purra’s right-wing populist party, The Finns with 46 seats. Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Social Democrats Party (SDP) conceded defeat and garnered 40 seats in elections.
The above-mentioned three political parties have secured around 20 percent of votes and hence no party is in a position to form a government alone at the center, and Finland is bound to be governed by a coalition government. Over 2,400 candidates from 22 political parties have wrestled for 200 Finnish parliaments seats.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin congratulated Petteri Orpo’s NCP for winning the 2023 elections in Finland and simultaneously applauded the efforts of the SDP for gaining more seats in the parliament. It is pertinent to mention that Marin has been considered a millennial role model for her progressive and visionary leadership as she remains a vocal critic of the Russian invasion of Ukraine while advocating for Finland’s successful admission into North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
PM Sanna Marin, however, has faced severe criticism at home for her party’s lavish spending on education and pensions which ultimately lead to her downturn from the premiership.
Social Democrats Party (SDP) Suffers Defeat
Petteri Orpo’s NCP remained a vocal critic of Marin’s policies and even accused her of eroding Finnish economic resilience in the backdrop of the energy crisis in Europe driven by the Russia-Ukraine war. NCP has promised to curb lavish spending on pensions and education and halt the upsurge of public debt which has risen steeply to 70 percent of GDP since Marin’s SDP took the office back in 2019.
The Ideology of the National Coalition Party (NCP)
Petteri Orpo-led National Coalition Party (NCP) is positioned on the center-right and labeled as liberal-conservative on the political spectrum. Founded in 1918, the NCP has dominated the Finnish political dynamics for several decades along with SDP and The Finns. The ideological basis of the NCP revolves around freedom, democracy and responsibility, education, equal opportunities, pluralism, supportiveness, multiculturalism, and LGBT rights.
Petteri Orpo has told national and international agencies that Finland’s solidarity and support for Ukraine would become only stronger during NCP’s tenure.
The Ideology of The Finns
Rikka Purra-led The Finns, formerly known in the political circle as True Finns, are known for their national conservatism and right-wing populist inclination founded back then in 1995 after the dissolution of the Finnish Rural Party. The party achieved a breakthrough in 2011 by securing 19.1% votes in Finnish parliamentary elections.
The ideological basis of The Finns revolves around national conservatism, anti-immigrant, Eurosceptic, ethnic-nationalist, and disposition towards economic nationalism and socially conservative values. It is noted that The Finns are a strong supporter of the welfare state concept and to curb lavish spending, the party calls for an austerity campaign as well.
In the recent election campaign, Rikka Purra’s The Finns care about climate change, rising inflation due to the pandemic, and the Russia-Ukraine war and envisions that cutting welfare benefits e.g. unemployment benefits and business subsidies will counter-balance inflation.
Challenges Ahead for NCP
It would be interesting to see how Petteri Orpo’s NCP forms and later operates the coalition government as NCP and The Finns largely share the view on developing the Finnish economy but have differences in European Union issues, climate change, and immigration policies.
National Coalition Party’s secretary Kristiina Kokko said that it is too early to talk about potential coalition partners and that the prime minister candidate will lead the negotiations. Although supporters are now celebrating NCP’s win and are expecting the revitalization of freedom, democratic norms, education, equal opportunities, pluralism, supportiveness, multiculturalism, and economic resurgence, it won’t be an easy ride for Petteri Orpo as potential coalition partners have differences on varying issues.
The debate of integration versus alienation from the European Union would certainly come into play because of the anti-immigration inclination of The Finns. Petteri Orpo has already professed his agenda that ranges from financial resurgences, creating more jobs, becoming an ever more active member of the European Union, and building up NATO-Finland.
The center-right National Coalition Party (NCP) has fulfilled its first election manifesto, with Finland becoming the 31st member of the world’s biggest military alliance NATO on Tuesday. This major development has marked a major shift in the security landscape of the region. To conclude, Petteri Orpo-led National Coalition Party (NCP) will face varying challenges on the national and international fronts, and the changing geopolitical dynamics will certainly test the political gambit of the newly elected PM of Finland.
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