SDP will need support from center-right parties to lead new government in Finland

Finland has seen significant growth in the number of political parties in recent decades. The fact that there is no threshold for electoral support for a party to enter the Finnish parliament allows even smaller players to achieve representation. These factors have resulted in a highly diverse landscape of political parties in the parliament, both in terms of their size and outlook, making coalition formation a potentially complicated process.

The governing coalition parties, namely: the  Centre Party (KESK / ALDE), National Coalition Party (NCP / EPP) and Blue Reform (SIN), have seen a recent decline in support. By contrast, the Social Democratic Party (SDP / S&D) is expected to become the largest party with the upcoming April 14 election. However, building a purely left-wing coalition does not seem feasible: SDP, the Green League (VIHR / Greens/EFA) and the Left Alliance (VAS / GUE/NGL) are not expected to receive enough votes to secure a majority in parliament, indicating that probably a wider coalition will be necessary to build the new government.

Considering the willingness of the players to cooperate, it is worth mentioning that all the leading parties have renounced the opportunity to work in a coalition with Finns Party (PS / ECR), due to their pronounced right-wing and anti-immigration stance. The parties that do not see a possibility for such a coalition are KESK, NCP, SDP, and VIHR. Taking into account this information we arrive at the following forecast:

Two scenarios appear most stable. Both include NCP as the leader of the new government, securing the seat of the prime minister and 3 other ministries seats. These coalitions also include VAS, Swedish People’s Party of Finland (SFP / ALDE), and KD with 3, 2, and 2 ministries respectively. Either KESK or VIHR is required to complement the governing coalition – one of these parties is expected to receive 6 ministry posts.

However, the predicted scenarios include coalitions with a highly diverse political outlook, and in some cases with dubious political viability. We, therefore, add further constraints and assume that strong left and right views cannot be allowed within one coalition. The result is the following:

The most stable coalition is now led by SDP and includes NCP, VAS and SIN. SDP is expected to secure the seat of the prime minister and 6 other ministries, while NCP, VAS, and SIN would receive 8, 1, and 1 ministries respectively. As left-wing parties would not receive enough support for a majority in parliament, SDP needs to include center-right NCP and SIN in the coalition.

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