Antti Kaikkonen, the chairperson of the Centre Parliamentary Group, talked to the press in Riihimäki on 27 April. The parliamentary group seems to be holding all the cards when it comes to the composition of the next Finnish government. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

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THE CENTRE PARTY has, somewhat unexpectedly, found itself in a position to influence the coalition formation process less than a month after being arguably the biggest loser in the parliamentary elections held in Finland on 14 April.

“It appears that forming a government on the basis of election winners is difficult,” the party observed in a press release issued on Monday.

The Centre announced it will have to consul with its rank-and-file membership before deciding on whether to move to the opposition or join the so-called popular front put together by Antti Rinne, the chairperson of the Social Democrats. Rinne stated earlier yesterday that he hopes the party is ready to embark on the coalition formation negotiations – in a move that was interpreted widely as him showing his hand.

He is now expected to announce which parliamentary groups will be invited to the negotiations at 11.30am on Wednesday.

The Centre on Tuesday indicated that no agreement has been found in the bilateral negotiations between the Social Democrats and National Coalition: “Parts of the negotiations have dragged on, and it seems that no clear solution has been found in the negotiations.”

The party reminded that the threshold for it taking part in the coalition formation negotiations is high after it saw is vote share plummet by 7.3 percentage points to 13.8 per cent and seat tally by 18 to 31 seats in the recent elections. It also declared it is not prepared to compromise on its 10 threshold conditions for participating in the government.

If the Centre decided against participating in the negotiations, Rinne would likely have to return, hat in hand, to the National Coalition.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi