Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s center-right rival Petteri Orpo was upbeat Saturday on the eve of legislative elections after polls put his party in top place.
“We have done a great campaign. We have the best candidates all over Finland and we are first in polls so I’m optimistic,” National Coalition party leader Orpo told AFP.
For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
The party that comes out on top traditionally inherits the post of prime minister, provided they can form a majority in parliament.
According to the latest survey published on Thursday by public broadcaster Yle, Orpo’s National Coalition has a thin lead at 19.8 percent.
The nationalist Eurosceptic Finns Party, led by Riikka Purra, polled 19.5 percent.
The Social Democrats led by current Prime Minister Sanna Marin took third place at 18.7 percent.
The mother-of-one, who took office in 2019 as the world’s youngest prime minister at age 34, is Finland’s most popular prime minister this century, polls show.
“I want to fix our economy. I want to boost economic growth,” Orpo said, adding that Marin “is not worried about the economy. She is not worried about debt.”
Finland’s debt-to-GDP ratio has risen from 64 percent in 2019 to 73 percent, which the National Coalition wants to address by cutting spending by six billion euros ($6.5 billion).
The elections come just after Finland received all necessary ratifications from NATO members to accede to the US-led military alliance.
“I am very proud because Kokoomus my party was the first one and the only party in Finland supporting NATO for 20 years and today we are almost there,” Orpo said.
Stoltenberg says Finland will join NATO alliance in coming days
Turkey’s parliament set to vote on Finland’s NATO bid