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MP Defects, Conservatives Take Top Spot

MP Markku Uusipaavalniemi on Thursday defected from the Centre Party and joined the ranks of the True Finns Party. The Centre's loss means that the conservative National Coalition Party is now the largest bloc in in the Finnish Parliament.

Markku Uusipaavalniemi
Markku Uusipaavalniemi Image: Seppo Sarkkinen / YLE

Until Uusipaavalniemi's defection Thursday, the Centre and the National Coalition both had 51 members in Parliament.

Uusipaavalniemi is a first-term MP from the Uusimaa electoral district. As a Centre Party member, he was a vocal critic of the government's economic policies.

He became a publicly-known figure as the captain of Finland's curling team that took the silver medal at the last Winter Olympics.

According to National Coalition Party chair, Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen, the new position of his party as the single largest bloc in Parliament will not affect government cooperation.

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