Finnish SDP leader underlines welfare state when seeking to form new gov't

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-27 01:39:19|Editor: yan
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HELSINKI, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Antti Rinne, chairman of the election winning Social Democratic Party (SDP), on Friday submitted policy questions to all parliamentary parties as the first stage of forming a new government under SDP leadership.

He filed the questions after a meeting of the parties had assigned him with the task of ascertaining the would-be coalition composition.

One of the main concerns Rinne raised was how the parties would strengthen the services of the welfare society and finance them.

The list of eleven questions also included whether the recipient is committed to halting global warming by 1.5 degrees and to making Finland carbon neutral by 2035 and soon thereafter carbon negative.

Responses by the parties are to be collected by Tuesday noon and will then be published on the parliament website. Rinne said that follow-up talks would probably be necessary, and he would likely announce his selection of coalition partners on May 7. He hoped the talks would be completed by May 27.

Rinne said the responses from the National Coalition Party, the Finns Party and the Center Party are the most important as "one of them would be in the cabinet". He refused to speculate about the actual composition and said all parties are still included.

Local commentators singled out the widely differing views of the social democrats and the conservatives on taxation policy as the most difficult issue in the formation of the ruling coalition.

There were no direct questions about taxation in the questionnaire, nor about immigration, where the SDP disagrees most with the Finns Party.

Rinne said that economic policies are not decisive, but they are a tool for strengthening the social safety nets. He listed strengthening the welfare state, measures to decrease inequality between people, and investments for the future personally important to him.

The social democrats want to widen the tax revenue base in order to finance improved social services such as higher pensions, better care for seniors and a free secondary education.

Local media have reported they want to start taxing foreign capital funds getting dividends from Finnish stock holdings and to increase the taxation of dividends obtained from non-listed companies.