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)

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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.

The parliamentary groups, he added, are expected to submit their answers no later than on 30 April. The answers will then be analysed carefully to determine which groups to invite to the coalition formation discussions.

Rinne on Thursday underlined that the process is the same for the Finns Party, which has alleged that it has already been excluded from the process. Rinne has, however, stated consistently in media interviews that co-operation with the populist right-wing party would be difficult due to its divergent values.

“There are no such things as good or bad [coalition] partners,” he said yesterday.

“The Social Democrats and National Coalition have always wrangled over the economic policy direction, but every once in a while a common understanding on how to move things forward has been found,” he added.

Rinne revealed that his objective is to decide the government composition on 3 May. The coalition partners will then convene for in-depth discussions before beginning negotiations on the next government programme on 6 May. The government programme, in turn, is to be finalised by the end of May.

“I realise that the timetable is very tight and there’s little room for errors. But it’d be good to make some decisions by 27 May,” he said.

One reason for the sense of urgency is that the presidency of the Council of the European Union will be handed over to Finland in July. It is important that the next government has sufficient time to prepare for the presidency, according to Rinne.

He also revealed that his objective will be to distribute a minimum of 40 per cent of cabinet positions to both men and women.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi