The chairpersons of the five parties that will look to thrash out a coalition deal in the coming couple of weeks held a press conference after the first day of talks in the Government Palace in Helsinki on Wednesday, 8 May. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

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POLITICAL ANALYSTS and opposition-bound politicians have expressed their bemusement with the heavy representation of lobbyists and trade union executives in the coalition formation negotiations.

Helsingin Sanomat reported on Thursday that Saana Siekkinen, the chairperson of the supervisory board at the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), has been appointed to the task force focusing on developing working life by the Social Democrats.

The task force is headed by Antti Lindtman, the chairperson of the Social Democratic Parliamentary Group. The Left Alliance, meanwhile, is represented in the task force by Anu Tuija-Lehto, a legal advisor at SAK, and Teija Asara-Laaksonen, a chief executive at the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors (JHL).

“SAK is grinding out reforms, the lords themselves are seated at the negotiating table on agriculture. What could go wrong?” Mauri Kotamäki, a chief economist at the Finland Chamber of Commerce, commented on Twitter.

Iltalehti, in turn, drew attention to the representative of the Green League: Elina Moisio, a shareholder at one of the leading influencer marketing agencies in Finland, Miltton Networks.

“Businesses and organisations – or anyone – could hire Miltton Networks to lobby Finnish politicians. Moisio makes her living as the shareholder of such a lobby firm – and her firm can raise the price of its services as its lobbying efforts produce better results,” wrote Lauri Nurmi, a political journalist at Iltalehti. “This, if anything, is corruption – and facilitates corruption in the political system of Finland.”

“Quite a show of scheming and skulduggery with the help of lobbyists. And I thought we’re living in a democratic Finland,” tweeted Mia Laiho (NCP), a second-term Member of Parliament from Espoo.

Her bemusement was shared by her fellow party member, Sakari Rokkanen (NCP). SAK, he reminded, coughed up more than a million euros to replenish the campaign coffers of candidates of the Social Democrats and Left Alliance.

Antti Rinne, the chairperson of the Social Democrats, on Thursday stated in a press conference that lobbyists will not have free access to the coalition formation talks at the Government Palace.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi