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Finland's Center Party head to step down after election loss

Chairman of Centre Party of Finland Juha Sipila arrives at the parliamentary election party in Helsinki, Sunday, April 14, 2019. Voters in Finland are casting ballots in a parliamentary election Sunday after climate change dominated the campaign, even overshadowing topics like reforming the nation's generous welfare model. (Heikki Saukkomaa/Lehtikuva via AP)

HELSINKI — Finland’s outgoing prime minister says he will step down as head of the Center Party, which had one of its worst performances in decades in Sunday parliamentary election.

Juha Sipila tweeted Tuesday “the election result leaves me with no choices,” referring to the centrist party’s meagre 13.8% support and loss of 18 parliamentary seats in Finland’s 200-seat legislature.

Sipila is due to step down at an extraordinary party congress on Sept. 7.

He has chaired the Center Party, a major political establishment, since 2012, and been the Nordic country’s prime minister since 2015. Sipila continued heading a caretaker government after his three-party coalition resigned in March,

The centre-left Social Democratic Party emerged as Finland’s largest party with a tight win over the populist Finns Party in the election. Only 0.2 percentage points separate them.

The Associated Press