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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Centrists Win in Finnish Elections

HELSINKI -- Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen's Center Party started post-election talks Monday to form a new coalition government probably based on a center-right axis with the opposition Conservatives.

The centrists narrowly won Sunday's parliamentary vote to remain the biggest group in Parliament by a one-seat margin over the Conservative Party, which posted the strongest gains.

The left-leaning Social Democrats, meanwhile, dropped eight seats in the 200-member assembly and were expected to lose their place in the governing coalition.

"I'm confident that I will be able to form the next government," Vanhanen told reporters Monday after initial talks with party leaders. "The biggest party will always find friends."

Most analysts predicted Vanhanen would throw out the Social Democrats and invite the Conservatives to form a new government that could also include smaller parties, such as the Greens or the Swedish People's Party.