Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen's Centre Party has won the country's general election by the slimmest of margins. Mr Vanhanen's party won 51 seats (23.1% of the vote), a single extra parliamentary seat more than the Conservatives, who finished in second place with 50 seats (22.3%).
The Social Democrats, who form part of Finland's centre-left coalition government, took third place, with 45 seats (21.5% of the vote). The Centre Party has governed alongside the Social Democrats and the small Swedish People's Party since 2003.
The Conservatives made gains at the expense of the Social Democrats, and it is likely that this will lead to the creation of a new centre-right government, pushing the Social Democrats into opposition for the first time in over a decade. Of the minor parties, the Green Party and the Swedish People's Party each gained one seat, taking their respective totals to 15 and nine seats; the Greens are potential members of a future centre-right coalition.
Vanhanen's party is expected to lead informal coalition talks before the new Parliament convenes on 20 March. On 17 April, members of parliament will choose a Prime Minister - usually the leader of the biggest party. Two days later, President Tarja Halonen is expected to appoint the new Cabinet.
19 March 2007