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Finland’s 3 main parties keep lead in local vote

HELSINKI (AP) – Finland’s three leading political parties have retained their top positions after an election for 10,000 local government seats, with gains by a populist euroskeptic party falling below predictions.

With all votes counted, conservative Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen’s National Coalition Party won with 22 percent of the vote, followed by coalition partner the Social Democrats with 19.6 percent. The leading opposition Center Party came in third with 18.7 percent.

The populist Finns party, which opposes bailouts for eurozone countries, made the greatest gain with 12 percent of the vote but fell short of its 15-percent target.

The results bolstered the pro-EU, six-party ruling coalition that supports aid for ailing fellow members of the 17-nation bloc that uses the common euro currency.

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