(FASTNEWS|COLOMBO) – The Social Democratic Party has won a narrow victory in Finland’s general election with 17.7% of the vote.
But the far-right Finns Party was close behind on 17.5%, while the Centre Party of outgoing PM Juha Sipila saw its support crash by a third to 13.8%.
“For the first time since 1999 we are the largest party in Finland,” said SDP leader Antti Rinne.
But with the vote split and no party winning by a clear margin, it may be hard to build a workable coalition.
The Greens and the Left Alliance also increased their share of the vote.
It is the first time in more than a century that no party has won more than 20% of the vote.
Voter turnout was 72%.
The Social Democrats have won 40 seats in the 200-seat parliament, one more than the Finns Party.
At the last election in 2015, the Finns Party won 38 seats, but MPs split after a leadership election in 2017.
For Jussi Halla-aho, who has led the Finns Party since then, the rebuilding of the party’s parliamentary block was a cause for celebration.
“I could not expect a result like this, and no-one could, ” he told supporters on Sunday evening.
Mr Halla-aho had urged people to “vote for some borders” during the election campaign.
Before the election, most other parties ruled out any coalition with the Finns Party.
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