Talks start in Finland on left-center coalition government

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-08 23:29:49|Editor: yan
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HELSINKI, May 8 (Xinhua) -- Antti Rinne, leader of the Social Democrat (SDP) party in Finland, announced plans on Wednesday to form a left-center ruling coalition comprising the SDP, the Center Party, the Green League, the Left Alliance and the Swedish People's Party of Finland. It would have a majority of 117 seats in the 200-member parliament.

The coalition would leave the conservative National Coalition Party, the populist Finns Party and the Christian Democratic Party in opposition.

Rinne had pursued preparatory talks with the conservatives until Tuesday. National Coalition Party leader Petteri Orpo said his party was left out mainly due to its tough economic policy approach.

Jussi Halla-aho, chairman of the populist Finns Party, said the new government would introduce "left-green" policies.

Talking to the media, Rinne repeated the key goal of reducing inequality in Finland. He said the policy goals would be easier to reach with the Center Party than with the conservatives as the SDP's major coalition partner.

After the new coalition plan was made public on Wednesday, observers noted that the talks could still fail. The Center Party has submitted some policies as a condition for joining the coalition.


The prospect of a new coalition has been likened by local observers to a change of an era. A left-center government would greatly reduce the influence of the industries and businesses on Finnish politics.

The newspaper Keskisuomalainen noted in a Wednesday afternoon editorial that the "working people" have ousted the "capital-owning circles" from the core of power where they have been since the late 1980s almost without interruption.

With its willingness to join the coalition, the Center Party is seen as returning to its traditional ideological role as a defender of the less affluent.

The pro-business line of the previous government, led by centrist leader Juha Sipila, has been seen as a reason for its major losses in the April election. The party was first heading into opposition, but on Tuesday the vast majority of the Center Party's decision makers endorsed joining the coalition.

Teemu Luukka, a commentator for the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, described as "ironic" that the Center Party would now be joining efforts to reverse the cutbacks in welfare and education.

Rinne, who is likely to become prime minister, clarified on Wednesday that "Sipila's policies" would not continue.

Talks about the new government's program started on Wednesday afternoon. Rinne said the aim was to conclude the negotiations in less than three weeks, by May 24. The new government could then be appointed at the beginning of June.

Rinne was unwilling to predict how difficult the talks would be. "It is most important to aim at a joint solution in all situations," he said.