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Antti Kurvinen (left) and Juha Sipilä (right) of the Centre Party attended a meeting of the party’s ministerial group and working committees in Iisalmi on Monday, 19 August 2019. (Akseli Muraja – Lehtikuva)

THE CENTRE and the Swedish People’s Party have voiced their reservations about the idea of reducing working time considerably in Finland.

Sanna Marin (SDP), the Minister of Transport and Communications, stated in Turku on Saturday that the Social Democratic Party should incorporate a four-day, 24-hour work week into its political agenda for the near future.

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Issue-specific task forces were a key feature of the coalition formation negotiations led by the Social Democratic Party. A photograph from a meeting of the task force focusing on biodiversity and carbon neutrality. (Handout – Laura Kotila, Office of the Prime Minister)

PRIME MINISTER Antti Rinne’s (SDP) comments about the coalition formation negotiations have raised eyebrows among members of the National Coalition.

Matias Marttinen (NCP), a first-term Member of the Finnish Parliament from Satakunta, reminded on Thursday that the National Coalition’s economic policy approach was based on recommendations made by the Ministry of Finance.

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Prime Minister Antti Rinne (SDP) spoke at the summer meeting of the Social Democratic Parliamentary Group in Helsinki on Thursday, 15 August 2019. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

PRIME MINISTER Antti Rinne (SDP) offered a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the coalition formation negotiations at the summer meeting of the Social Democratic Parliamentary Group in Helsinki on Thursday.

“There was a clear difference between those looking to reform and those looking to slow down the society in the coalition formation talks held after the elections,” he said.

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Minister of Finance Mika Lintilä (Centre) talked to the media in the midst of the first day of budget talks at the Ministry of Finance in Helsinki on Tuesday, 13 August. (Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva)

MINISTER OF FINANCE Mika Lintilä (Centre) has cast light on the contents of the budget negotiations that began yesterday at the Ministry of Finance.

Lintilä on Tuesday stated that consumers should prepare for the eventuality that tax rates on alcohol, tobacco and fossil fuels are raised as soon as at the beginning of next year. “We’ll look into the timetable as far as [the increases] are concerned on Tuesday and Wednesday,” he commented to Kauppalehti.

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Minister of Culture and Science Annika Saarikko (Centre) has voiced her bafflement at how readily some have questioned the monopoly status of Veikkaus, the Finnish state-owned betting agency. (Laura Ukkonen – Lehtikuva)

PRIME MINISTER Antti Rinne (SDP) has floated the possibility of tearing down the gambling monopoly of Veikkaus.

Rinne indicated on Wednesday that Finland could at some point explore the possibility of doing away with the monopoly and transitioning to a licence-based system similar to that introduced in Sweden in January 2019.

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Jussi Halla-aho’s (right) Finns Party remains the most popular party, but Maria Ohisalo’s (left) Green League made notable gains in the latest opinion poll by YLE. (Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva)

THE FINNS PARTY remains clearly the most popular political party in Finland, according to the latest opinion poll commissioned by YLE.

The public broadcaster reported this morning that support for the populist right-wing opposition party slipped by 0.1 percentage points to 19.6 per cent between July and August, leaving it with a comfortable 2.8 percentage point-advantage over second-placed National Coalition.

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Prime Minister Antti Rinne (SDP) has voiced his exasperation with the reluctance of ministry officials to abide by political decisions. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

PRIME MINISTER Antti Rinne (SDP) has continued to criticise the officials of several ministries in Finland.

Rinne on Wednesday stated in a press conference that he has noticed situations where political decision-making on certain issues has ultimately had no impact on the work of officials at, for example, the Ministry of Defence.

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Prime Minister Antti Rinne (SDP) has called for patience from both sides of the upcoming collective bargaining negotiations, reminding that too big and too small wage increases could both have a negative impact on employment growth. (Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva)

PRIME MINISTER Antti Rinne (SDP) has called for patience from both sides of the union-specific collective bargaining negotiations that are scheduled to kick off this autumn.

“Too big wage increases would jeopardise employment growth. But also too small increases would jeopardise it by reducing purchasing power,” he reminded in an interview with Uutissuomalainen on Saturday.

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Aino-Kaisa Pekonen (Left Alliance), the Minister of Social Affairs and Health, is unconvinced that cutting unemployment benefits will create a single new job in Finland. (Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva)

THE LEFT ALLIANCE has visibly stepped up its rhetoric against the activation model for unemployment security in recent weeks.

Both Paavo Arhinmäki, the chairperson of the Left Alliance Parliamentary Group, and Aino-Kaisa Pekonen (Left Alliance), the Minister of Social Affairs and Health, on Thursday expressed their doubts about the employment impact of the oft-criticised model.

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The Finns Party’s campaign booth at Narinkkatori Square in Helsinki on 9 May 2019. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

THE FINNS PARTY is part of the far right, according to Oula Silvennoinen (Greens), a researcher at the University of Helsinki.

“It’d be good to make it clear also to the viewers what we mean by the far right,” he stated on YLE A-studio on Wednesday. “It’s a relatively broad term that incorporates right-wing extremists, neo-Nazi organisations like the Nordic Resistance Movement and radical right-wing parties like the Finns Party.”

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The Finns Party’s ascent in polls has been all but unprecedented under the leadership of Jussi Halla-aho. (Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva)

THE FINNS PARTY has continued on a steep upward trajectory in the most recent opinion poll commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat.

The newspaper reported this morning that more than a fifth (20.7%) of respondents expressed their support for the populist, right-wing opposition party, signalling an increase of 1.5 percentage points from the previous month.

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