Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 06:46:58 AM EST
Following the Finnish parliamentary election last month (relive the election night blogging experience!), current and future Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen has been hard at work putting together a new government (hallitus in Finnish). It would appear he's almost done. (More details below - updated twice)
From the diaries - whataboutbob
The election results were as follows (Source):
|Centre Party (Kesk.)
|National Coalition Party (Kok.)
|Social Democratic Party (SDP)
|Left Alliance (Vas.)
|Green League (Vihr.)
|Swedish People's Party (SFP)
|Christian Democrats (KD)
|True Finns (PS)
The second number for the Swedes includes the numbers for the elected MP from Åland (an autonomous, Swedish-speaking region with its own party system and exactly one seat in the Finnish parliament), who caucuses with the Swedes. Abbreviations are in Finnish or Swedish where applicable. The last column is the difference in seats compared to the last election in 2003. The Finnish parliament is unicameral and consists of 200 seats.
Based on the election results, the best bet was a coalition consisting of the Centre Party (current coalition partner) and the National Coalition Party (conservatives), most likely also the Swedes (liberals and Swedish minority party, current coalition partner) and possibly one other of the smaller parties (either the Christian Democrats or the Greens), with current coalition partner Social Democrats joining the opposition. According to an article in Hufvudstadsbladet
, the largest Swedish language daily newspaper in Finland, it's going to be Centre Party + Coalition Party + Swedes + Greens, with the Centre Party and Coalition Party getting 8 ministries each, while the Swedes and the Greens get 2 ministries each, with Vanhanen (Centre) continuing as Prime Minister.
The Coalition Party, coming off an extremely good election, had a great negotiating position and managed to land some heavy ministries: Finance, Foreign Affairs, Interior, Defense, Education. The Centre Party, in addition to the Prime Ministry, will also handle Environment, Business, Health, among others. The Greens got Labour and Justice, while the Swedes got Europe/Immigration and Culture.
The actual persons manning the different ministries are expected to be announced within the next few days, although a few besides Vanhanen are already known. Coalition Party chairman Jyrki Katainen will become Minister of Foreign Affairs, in addition to being vice-Prime Minister.
The proposed government program (according to an article in the same edition of Hufvudstadsbladet
as above) appears to consist of lowering some taxes and benefits, while increasing others. Income, inheritance and dividend taxes, as well as VAT on food products will be lowered and new tax benefits for companies will be created. Parenting benefits, student benefits and pensions will be increased. An increase is expected on the alcohol and various energy and environmental taxes.
As for foreign policy, I would except Katainen to be a bit more US-friendly than his Social Democratic predecessor, Erkki Tuomioja. The Swedes are generally Europe-friendly (if liberal), so I reckon they will do a good job handling the Euroministry.
Update [2007-4-16 12:15:30 by NordicStorm]:
The National Coalition party has announced their ministers
, according to Helsingin Sanomat. Jyrki Katainen will become Minister of Finance, NOT Foreign Affairs. Ilkka Kanerva will become Minister of Foreign Affairs. Former Finance Minister, Coalition Party chairman and presidential candidate Sauli Niinistö will become Speaker of the Eduskunta (Finnish parliament). The Swedes' ministers will be party chairman Stefan Wallin (Minister of Culture and Sport) and former Member of the European Parliament Astrid Thors (Minister of Europe and Immigration).
Update [2007-4-17 11:57:21 by NordicStorm]:
All parties have decided on their ministers, so the Vanhanen II cabinet is complete. As expected, Vanhanen was elected Prime Minister by the Eduskunta
earlier today. Wikipedia
has the complete list of new ministers. Apart from the ministers mentioned here and in the comments, one can also note that Green League chairman Tarja Cronberg, who lost her seat in the Eduskunta (while somewhat paradoxically being the second highest vote getter in her electoral district, due to the D'Hondt method of apportioning seats), will be the new Minister for Labour. The new cabinet will also be the first in Finnish history with more female ministers than male ones, 12 females and 8 males.