Jussi Halla-aho, the chairperson of the Finns Party, on Monday announced he will complete his term in the European Parliament before taking up his seat in the Finnish Parliament. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)

JUSSI HALLA-AHO, the chairperson of the Finns Party, says he will not take up his seat in the Finnish Parliament until 3 July, after he has completed his term in the European Parliament.

Halla-aho on Monday underlined in a press release that the decision will have no impact whatsoever on his or his party’s ability to participate in the government formation process and negotiations in Finland.

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The National Coalition’s role in the government cannot be only to see to that public funds are spent responsibly, underlines the party’s chairperson, Petteri Orpo. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

THE NATIONAL COALITION is not prepared to increase borrowing contrary to what was suggested in a report published on Thursday by Helsingin Sanomat, says Petteri Orpo, the chairperson of the National Coalition.

“I’m not about to slip when it comes to fiscal austerity. The journalist took a couple of shortcuts,” Orpo stated on Twitter on Sunday.

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Teuvo Hakkarainen of the Finns Party (left) has been found guilty of assault and ethnic agitation; Antti Kaikkonen of the Centre (right) of misuse of a position of trust. (Images: Heikki Saukkomaa, Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva)

EIGHT OF THE NEWLY ELECTED Members of the Finnish Parliament have had run-ins with the law in recent years, according to Helsingin Sanomat.

The newspaper reported this morning that it has looked into the criminal records of newly elected Members of the Parliament in 2012–2019, finding that six of the eight lawmakers with a criminal history were elected from the ticket of the Finns Party.

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Faruk Kaymakçı at the Turkish Embassy in Helsinki.

OFFICIALS FROM THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT have arrived in Helsinki to participate in a seminar at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, entitled ‘EU-Turkey Relations in Geopolitical Context’, scheduled to take place tomorrow afternoon. 

One of these officials is Faruk Kaymakcı, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and EU director ambassador for Turkey. He hopes that the event can be used to shine a light on current EU-Turkey relations and jumpstart accession talks. 

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Seasoned National Coalition MPs Pertti Salolainen (left) and Ben Zyskowicz (right) attending their party’s election night event in Helsinki on 14 April. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva).

THE NATIONAL COALITION should turn down an invitation to govern from the Social Democrats, if the invitation was conditional upon the participation of the Left Alliance, says Pertti Salolainen (NCP).

“I know from experience that this is a tough spot for the Social Democrats,” he commented to Verkkouutiset on Friday.

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MEP Merja Kyllönen, an ex-Minister of Transport, has stated that she will return from Brussels to Helsinki if she wins election to both the Finnish Parliament and European Parliament. (Miika Manninen – Handout)

A DEBATE HAS ERUPTED over the tendency of political parties to nominate the same candidate for election to both the Finnish Parliament and the European Parliament.

The Left Alliance, in particular, has come under criticism for having its high-profile members stand as candidates in both elections. Merja Kyllönen (Left Alliance), who won a seat in the Finnish Parliament on Sunday, told Kainuun Sanomat before the elections that if she is elected to both parliaments she will return from Brussels to Helsinki.

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Antti Rinne (left), the chairperson of the Social Democrats, will sit down with some of his fellow party leaders to form the next government on 25 April 2019. Also pictured, from left to right, are Jussi Halla-aho of the Finns Party, Juha Sipilä of the Centre, Pekka Haavisto of the Greens and Petteri Orpo of the National Coalition. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

JUHO ROMAKKANIEMI, the chief executive of Finland Chamber of Commerce, has added a sense of urgency to the looming coalition formation negotiations.

“A government must be formed without delay. Businesses are worrying about the future, and that is gnawing away at investments that are absolutely crucial for employment. Uncertainty about the upcoming operating environment is toxic for business operations,” he wrote on Facebook on Monday.

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Jussi Halla-aho, the chairperson of the Finns Party, says he regrets expressing a variety of views in a needlessly brutal way. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

JUSSI HALLA-AHO, the chairperson of the Finns Party, has commented on his old blog entries in the face of mounting pressure from journalists, admitting that some of the passages cited recently in the media were “stupid and ill-advised”.

“I regret that, a long time ago, I expressed a variety of principled views in a needlessly brutal way,” he conceded on Twitter.

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A voter placing a vote slip into a ballot box at Mäntsälä Town Hall on Sunday, 14 April 2019.(Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)

ELECTORAL DISTRICTS have confirmed the results of the parliamentary elections held in Finland on Sunday, 14 April, according to the Ministry of Justice.

The election recount resulted in no changes in the power balance between parties in the Finnish Parliament: the Social Democrats received 546,471 votes, equivalent to 17.7 per cent of the votes cast, to secure 40 seats in the Parliament.

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Antti Rinne, the chairperson of the Social Democrats, is set to lead the upcoming coalition formation talks after his party emerged from the parliamentary elections as the largest party in the Parliament. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY will use its sustainable development agenda as a basis for drawing up questions to other parties in anticipation of the coalition formation talks, tells Antti Rinne, the chairperson of the Social Democrats.

“It’s impossible to define a single issue. It’s about the whole,” he commented in an interview on IL-TV on Monday.

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Antti Rinne (SDP) acknowledges that Finland’s upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union adds a sense of urgency to the coalition formation process. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

ANTTI RINNE (SDP), the presumptive leader of the upcoming coalition formation discussions, shed light on his approach to government formation during a briefing with political journalists in Helsinki on Thursday.

Rinne said he will present a list of roughly 10 questions, along with a number of follow-up questions, to all parliamentary groups once the process formally begins on Friday, 26 April.

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Hanna Sarkkinen (Left Alliance) believes Juha Sipilä’s resignation as chairperson of the Centre Party increases the likelihood of the Centre becoming part of the next ruling coalition. (Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva)

THE CENTRE PARTY is better positioned to become part of the next government following the resignation announcement of its chairperson, Juha Sipilä, on Tuesday, view members of the Green League and Left Alliance.

“The change in leadership may offer the Centre a better opportunity to participate in the government,” Hanna Sarkkinen (Left Alliance) wrote in a blog on Puheenvuoro on Tuesday.

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A number of economists, including Pasi Kuoppamäki of Danske Bank, have voiced their concerns about the economic policy direction adopted by the next government of Finland. (Mesut Turan – Lehtikuva)

THE NEXT GOVERNMENT is unlikely to make any major progress on the structural reforms needed in Finland, estimate Lotta Lähteenmäki and Kristian Nummelin, analysts at Nordea.

“The Social Democrats is an advocate of high taxes and won’t hesitate to ramp up public spending. Finland, however, is faced with great challenges as the working-age population shrinks and costs related to population ageing increase,” they commented in a post-election economic review on Monday.

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Timo Soini (BR), the Minister for Foreign Affairs and ex-chairperson of the Finns Party, on Thursday announced the end of his long career in politics. (Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva)

TIMO SOINI (BR), the Minister for Foreign Affairs, has announced his non-candidacy in the upcoming elections to the European Parliament.

“Wherever the EU is, there’s a problem. I’m not part of the problem. I won’t be running in the EU elections,” he wrote in his blog on Thursday, 18 April. “I’m leaving politics, feeling positive, in a good mood.”

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Juha Sipilä on Tuesday announced he will hand over the reins of the Centre Party in September. (Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva)

JUHA SIPILÄ on Tuesday announced he will relinquish his duties as the chairperson of the Centre Party.

“The election results leave me with no other choice. The party government that convened today at my request has decided to call an extraordinary party conference to elect a new chairperson for the Centre on 7 September 2019,” he stated on Twitter.

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Voter turnout in the 2017 elections to the Finnish Parliament has been estimated at 72.0 per cent. (Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)

THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS held in Finland on Sunday were exceptional, if not outright unprecedented, from a number of perspectives, according to Helsingin Sanomat.

The newspaper pointed out today that a record number of female candidates (92) won election to the Finnish Parliament for 2019–2023. The previous record dated back to 2015, when 85 female candidates ran a successful campaign for a seat on Arkadianmäki.

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