Riding a wave of populism across Europe and campaigning to slow down Finland’s efforts to fight climate change, the euroskeptic Finns Party came within 6,800 votes of winning the country’s parliamentary election — a result that smashed even the party’s own predictions.
With all votes counted Monday, the top three parties in election were separated by only two seats in the country’s 200-seat Eduskunta legislature, which could make negotiations over forming Finland’s next coalition government difficult.
The opposition Social Democrats, led by former finance minister and union leader Antti Rinne, took 17.7% of the votes and 40 seats, far from the 101 seats needed for a majority.
Right behind came the Finns Party with 17.5% and 39 seats and the National Coalition Party with 17% of the votes and 38 seats. The Center Party of outgoing Prime Minister Juha Sipila was fourth with 13.8% of the vote and the Green Party came in with 11.5%.
Preliminary voter turnout was 72%, election officials said.
On Monday, it was not clear what political parties would join together to form the next government.