HELSINKI, April 9 (Xinhua) -- A major increase in the support of the Green Party and a steep decline for the populist Finns Party were the apparent trends as ballots were counted in Finnish local council elections Sunday evening.
While conservative candidate Jan Vapaavuori got major personal support and would definitely win the Mayoralty in the capital city of Helsinki, the Greens became the second largest party in the western city of Turku and rose from position five to the largest in Jyvaskyla, a university town in central Finland.
Green Party leader Ville Niinisto said it was "a spring of hope." Finns Party leader Timo Soini acknowledged defeat in his speech.
Ilkka Kanerva, the longest sitting Member of Parliament, said on national broadcaster Yle that the election result sends a reassuring message to the rest of Europe.
While the final result will be announced later, 98 percent of the votes were counted by midnight. The co-ruling conservative Coalition Party was predicted to be the largest with 20.6 percent. The opposition Social Democratic Party took second place with 19.4 percent, and Prime Minister Juha Sipila's ruling Center Party came in thrid place with 17.8 percent.
The Green Party attained 12.8 percent, which is an increase by over four percent from the local elections in 2012. The eurosceptic Finns Party got 8.8 percent, which is a decline by 3.5 percent. The Left League got 8.9 percent, with a slight increase from 2012.
Preliminary voter turnout was 58.8 percent.