With Finland about to join NATO, however, the election turned mostly on economic issues: the size of the country’s debt, the future viability of its social welfare system and its policy toward migration. There, Ms. Marin and her Social Democrats garnered more criticism and proved vulnerable.
“Democracy has spoken,” Ms. Marin said after the results were in.
She said: “I believe that the Social Democrats’ message was heard, and that was a values-based message. It has been a great campaign, and this is a great day because we did well. My congratulations to the National Coalition Party and Finns Party.”
Government spending was a key campaign issue.
With the economy contracting and inflation high, Ms. Marin’s opponents accused her of borrowing too much and failing to rein in public spending. Ms. Marin, who became prime minister in 2019, refused to specify any cuts but instead emphasized economic growth, education, higher employment and higher taxes as better answers.
The Finns Party pushed an anti-elitist agenda, concentrating on restricting migration from outside the European Union, criticizing Finland’s contributions to the European Union and urging a slower path toward carbon neutrality. But it has tried to soften its image under Riikka Purra, 45, who took the party leadership in 2021, and it has used social media cleverly, increasing its popularity among young voters.
In general, as in recent elections in Italy and Sweden, the vote showed a shift to the right. Ms. Marin’s party and two others from her current five-party coalition, the Greens and the Left Alliance, had ruled out going into government with the Finns. The Center Party has ruled out joining any coalition resembling the current one.
Ms. Marin’s private life, including videos of her drinking and dancing with friends, gave her celebrity abroad but caused some controversy in socially conservative Finland. She even felt compelled to take a drug test to forestall criticism. But she remained unusually popular for a prime minister at the end of a parliamentary term, said Jenni Karimaki, a political scientist at the University of Helsinki.
Steven Erlanger reported from Brussels, and Johanna Lemola from Helsinki, Finland.