Good News from Fri, 24 June, 2011:

New government reflects Finnish consensus

Minister of Finance Jutta Urpilainen and Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen together form the power base of the new government.  To the right is Minister of Employment and the Economy Jyri Häkämies. Minister of Finance Jutta Urpilainen and Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen together form the power base of the new government. To the right is Minister of Employment and the Economy Jyri Häkämies.
Finland’s new government rests upon a broad political base.  The new Prime Minister is the conservative National Coalition Party chairman Jyrki Katainen who served as the Minister of Finance in the previous administration.

A total of six political parties are represented in his government, from the small Christian Democratic party representing religious views to the Left Alliance.  Of the parliamentary parties remaining in opposition are only the Centre, who suffered badly in the elections and the populist True Finns who are opposed to Finland’s EU policies and are critical of immigration.

Negotiations to form the government lasted two months.  The end result was very special by European standards, yet well suited to the traditions of Finnish consensus.  The leading parties in government, the National Coalition and the Social Democrats both field six ministers from a total of 19.

The Chairman of the Social Democrats, Jutta Urpilainen is the Finance Minister in the new government.   The Social Democrat Erkki Tuomioja took up his post as Foreign Minister.  The former Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb was appointed Minister for Foreign Trade and Minister for Europe.

The Swedish National Party’s Chairman Stefan Wallin is the Defence Minister, the Green Party’s new Chairman Ville Niinistö is in charge of environmental matters, the Left Alliance’s Chairman Paavo Arhinmäki is responsible for culture and sport and the Christian Democrat’s Päivi Räsänen is the Minister of the Interior.

Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen views the new government’s biggest challenge as being the balancing of the country’s finances.  He admits that maintaining such a broad-based coalition government will also require flexibility and an ability to compromise.

KK