Centre Party leader Juha Sipila, a 53-year-old IT millionaire and newcomer to politics, is set to become Finland's next prime minister.

"It seems as though the Centre has won. Congratulations," Stubb told Finnish public radio and television on Sunday after around 70 percent of votes had been counted.

Sipila's liberal-agrarian party won 49 of 200 seats in parliament, results showed with 100 percent of votes counted.

The rightwing eurosceptic Finns Party, also in the Opposition, surged in late ballot counting on Sunday evening to become the country's second-biggest party, garnering 38 seats.
    
Stubb's conservative National Coalition Party meanwhile won 37 seats and the Social Democrats 34 seats.

"I'm really pleased with these results," Sipila said.
    
His first task will be to pick his coalition partners. Tradition dictates that the largest party takes the post of Prime Minister and forms a government with the other largest parties to obtain a majority in Parliament.
    
Several weeks of difficult negotiations are expected before Sipila is able to present a coalition, and he has not yet revealed which parties he would like to collaborate with.

Sipila campaigned heavily on his business know-how, vowing to get the eurozone country's economy back on track after three years of recession and stagnation, austerity and failed reforms.

Voters were disgruntled with Stubb's four-party left-right government coalition, which has been paralysed by internal discord and unable to push through any real policy changes.

"The Finnish situation is very difficult and it will be about a 10-year-project to get Finland in shape again," Sipila said after the results came in, adding that "a combination of cuts, reforms and growth" were needed in the future.

Finland now faces "another cliffhanger" regarding the formation of the government, Helsinki University political history professor Juhana Aunesluoma said.
    
"All options are open, including the entry of the Finns Party into the government."

Finns Party leader Timo Soini, whose affable style and down-home charisma is largely seen as responsible for his party's success, has made it clear he wants to be in government, eyeing the posts of Foreign and Finance Minister.

Latest News from World News Desk