Elina Lepomäki (NCP) has voiced her bafflement with the criticism levelled at Anne Berner (Centre), the Minister of Transport and Communications, after Berner announced she will be appointed as a board member at Sweden’s SEB. (Credit: Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

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ELINA LEPOMÄKI (NCP) has expressed her bafflement with the debate surrounding Anne Berner (Centre), the Minister of Transport and Communications.

Berner on Tuesday announced she will not seek re-election to the Finnish Parliament and will be nominated to the board of directors at SEB, a provider of banking and financial services headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden.

“I find it hard to understand the bitterness,” said Lepomäki.

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Berner, she added, has not only performed her duties as a cabinet member well but also stated repeatedly that she is unlikely to seek another term in the Parliament.

“How on earth is this a politically shrewd move? Should Berner stick around and hang around the aisles of the Parliament for the rest of her life?” Lepomäki stated, referring specifically to a comment published by Ilta-Sanomat.

Lepomäki estimated that it is desirable that people can move from politics to business and vice versa.

“Incapacity and revolving doors problems are a different matter entirely, but you have to think it’s great you can leave politics for a market-based job instead of sticking around and waiting for a taxi to take you to your politically appointed post at an agency or organisation. The Parliament has more than its share of ex-ministers whose passion to bring about change has, in their own words, dampened decades ago.”

“Of course, there are also people who are still passionate about it decades later,” she added.

Berner’s announcement has raised questions especially about her ability to perform the duties of the minister of transport and communications until the end of the current electoral term. She is to be appointed to the board of director at SEB on 26 March, while the parliamentary elections will be held on 14 April.

Berner told STT she has discussed her appointment to the board of directors with the Chancellor of Justice, who has ruled that she can continue to perform her ministerial duties as long as she files a declaration of interest after the appointment and disqualifies herself from any possible financial market-related issues.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi