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About Finnish society & culture. From snow to sauna, from natives to Nokia.
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Policy Network - Opinion & Essays

Policy Network - Opinion & Essays | Finland | Scoop.it
As in Sweden, the Finnish left succumb to a social-liberal, centre-right catch-all party that has successfully claimed the middle-ground.

 

On Sunday 5 February, Finland got its 12th President. The conservative National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) candidate, Sauli Niinistö, was elected by a landslide of 62.4% against his Green Party opponent Pekka Haavisto in the second round of the presidential elections.

This election was a disaster for the social democratic candidate, former prime minister Paavo Lipponen, who got only 6.7% of the total vote in the first round run-off. Even the total combined support of the Finnish traditional left, the Social Democrats and the successor party of the once-strong Communists, the Left Alliance, would not have carried a candidate to the second round...

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Pundit: Left's election result 'catastrophic'

Pundit: Left's election result 'catastrophic' | Finland | Scoop.it

The combined vote for Left Alliance leader Paavo Arhinmäki and Social Democrat candidate Paavo Lipponen in Sunday’s presidential election was historically low, at just 13.2 percent. The country will now elect its first non-Social Democrat president for thirty years.
YLE election pundit Risto Uimonen argued that the left’s combined result was catastrophic. He said the lack of trade union support hindered efforts to get out traditional left-wing voters.
“SAK (blue collar trade union confederation) support was decisive for Martti Ahtisaari and Tarja Halonen,” said Uimonen, recalling Finland’s last two presidents. They are both Social Democrats, as is Mauno Koivisto, Ahtisaari’s predecessor.

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Finland's Katainen restarts talks to form rainbow coalition

Finland's Katainen restarts talks to form rainbow coalition | Finland | Scoop.it
Jyrki Katainen, the Finnish prime minister-elect, said Friday that he had invited five parties to relaunch talks to form a rainbow coalition.

The first attempt ended in failure last week when Katainen's National Coalition party clashed with the Social Democrats and the Left Alliance over the VAT rate.

Katainen said last week that the two parties had walked out while Jutta Urpilainen, the SDP leader, and the Left Alliance's Paavo Arhinmäki said Katainen had kicked them out.

Katainen said Friday his aim was to form a coalition by the end of next week.
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Katainen: No Common Ground with SDP - YLE News

Katainen: No Common Ground with SDP - YLE News | Finland | Scoop.it
Katainen: No Common Ground with SDP - YLE News

Katainen has also contacted the parties that were planning to go into opposition -- the Centre and the True Finns.
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Parliamentary Chiefs to Weigh Next Move

Parliamentary Chiefs to Weigh Next Move | Finland | Scoop.it
The heads of the eight party delegations in Parliament are to meet on Tuesday to decide how to proceed after shipwrecked talks to form a new Finnish government.
Pekka Ravi, the leader of the largest bloc, the National Coalition (NCP) invited his colleagues from other parties to meet to discuss a way out of the current impasse.
He issued the invitation on Thursday after calls for such a meeting from Centre Party chair Mari Kiviniemi and Social Democratic parliamentary boss Eero Heinäluoma.
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Government Negotiations Break Down

Government Negotiations Break Down | Finland | Scoop.it
YLE News: Government Negotiations Break Down http://dlvr.it/TlNZX...

Government negotiations broke down Wednesday evening. Social Democrats and the Left Alliance left the negotiation table after 13 days of disagreement.
Lead negotiator and PM-designate, Jyrki Katainen (National Coalition Party) told reporters that the parties could not agree on employment or economic policy.
Issues about taxation were particularly difficult, Katainen said.
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Greens threatened to walk out of government talks over election reform

Greens threatened to walk out of government talks over election reform | Finland | Scoop.it
On Friday negotiators of the Green League had threatened to leave the talks over the question of election reform.
The Social Democrats have opposed a proposed constitutional amendment, which had been approved by the previous Parliament, which would make it easier for small parties to get candidates elected to Parliament from small constituencies. To take effect, the bill would have to be passed by the new Parliament as well.
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SDP wants Left Alliance in government Katainen to announce Wednesday which parties will join government talks

SDP wants Left Alliance in government Katainen to announce Wednesday which parties will join government talks | Finland | Scoop.it
National Coalition Party leader Jyrki Katainen is to meet with Left Alliance chairman Paavo Arhinmäki and Green League chairwoman Anni Sinnemäki on Wednesday morning to discuss issues related to the upcoming government formation talks.
“A decision will come on Wednesday, and government formation talks begin on Friday”, Katainen said on Monday in Brussels, where he is attending a meeting of ministers of finance of the euro zone countries.
Katainen wants to hear about the economic policy lines of the Left Alliance and the Greens. Katainen is especially interested in the Left Alliance’s views on EU policy.
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SDP's Tuomioja: Coalition Partners Far from Clear

SDP's Tuomioja: Coalition Partners Far from Clear | Finland | Scoop.it
The Social Democratic Party's elder statesman, Erkki Tuomioja, told YLE on Saturday that the makeup of the next Finnish government remains up in the air -- although four other potential coalition partners have said they are ready to begin negotiations.
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Stubb Praises Deal, Niinistö Criticises Britain

Stubb Praises Deal, Niinistö Criticises Britain | Finland | Scoop.it
Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb says that the agreement between the Social Democratic and National Coalition parties is a victory for Finland and for Europe.
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NewsRoom Finland

NewsRoom Finland | Finland | Scoop.it
NewsRoom Finland: Finland's SDP to decide fate of Portugal bailout -Sasi http://dlvr.it/RC2Z3...
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Helsingin Sanomat - COMMENTARY: Towards a red-blue coalition

Helsingin Sanomat - COMMENTARY: Towards a red-blue coalition | Finland | Scoop.it
From the perspective of the framework of the new government in the making, the result of the general election on Sunday was remarkably clear-cut: the new government's stem is a blue-red pairing of the National Coalition Party and the Social Democrats, and it will also have to take in the True Finns, whose massive surge elevated them into third place.
In addition, the conservatives of the National Coalition would like to have the Swedish People's Party on board.
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Finnish SDP leader says three-party coalition not a given -Paper

Finnish SDP leader says three-party coalition not a given -Paper | Finland | Scoop.it
Jutta Urpilainen, the Finnish Social Democrat leader, was quoted as saying by provincial paper Keskipohjanmaa on Tuesday that it was by no means clear that the next government would be a coalition comprising the National Coalition party, the SDP and the True Finns.

Urpilainen told the paper that the True Finns was the only party that must be part of the government, adding the National Coalition party as the one with the highest number of seats in Parliament had a right and a duty to attempt to form a government.

Urpilainen went on to say that it was important to form a majority government.
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Finland's left has become a victim of its own success

Finland's left has become a victim of its own success | Finland | Scoop.it

...the Social Democrats have been unable to solve the dilemma between a national labour force and international markets. As Finnish industries have moved their operations into cheap labour countries, the Social Democrats have whined and cried but have been unable to offer credible alternatives.

In particular many young people are disillusioned with the Social Democrats whom they see as 1960s radicals turned into advocates of vested interests. With a support base of labour unions and pensioners, it's not easy to introduce innovative new policies...

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Gov't platform "95% ready"

Gov't platform "95% ready" | Finland | Scoop.it
SDP parliamentary group leader Eero Heinäluoma says that at least 95 percent of the texts for the next government's agenda are ready.
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SDP could ditch support for EU bailout

SDP could ditch support for EU bailout | Finland | Scoop.it
Social Democrat party chair Jutta Urpilainen says that the party is no longer necessarily bound by the agreement on eurozone bailouts it made with the National Coalition about a month ago. The agreement is still in force for now, but may not be if the SDP remains outside government.
Urpilainen said that the agreement on financial support for eurozone countries only applies if the National Coalition and the SDP form the basis of a new government.
”If the situation is otherwise, then of course we have the right to re-evaluate our stance on the EU bailouts,” asserted Urpilainen.
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SDP Talking to True Finns - YLE News

SDP Talking to True Finns - YLE News | Finland | Scoop.it
SDP Talking to True Finns - YLE News

According to Social Democratic parliamentary group leader Eero Heinäluoma, his party is examining new options for the formation of a government, including talks with the True Finns.
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Gov't Talks: Back to Square One

Gov't Talks: Back to Square One | Finland | Scoop.it
Negotiations on the formation of a new government have gone back to square one following Wednesday's withdrawal from the talks by the Social Democratic Party and the Left Alliance. The four remaining parties in the talks are not even in full agreement if NPC chairman Jyki Katainen will automatically continue to lead the negotiations.
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Government formation talks continue for 12th day – pressure mounts on Katainen

Government formation talks continue for 12th day – pressure mounts on Katainen | Finland | Scoop.it
Tuesday is the 12th day that negotiators of six political parties have been holding discussions at Helsinki’s House of the Estates, aimed at forming a coalition government for the new Parlaimentary term.
The discussions, which are the longest in recent memory, have been slowed by disagreements between the two largest parties, the National Coalition Party and the Social Democrats, on economic policy.
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Government formation talks: intense bargaining over economic situation

Government formation talks: intense bargaining over economic situation | Finland | Scoop.it
The six parties taking part in talks on the formation of a new government coalition continued discussions all Sunday aimed at hammering out a common position on the country’s economic situation.
Negotiators had differing views especially on the size of the so-called sustainability gap – the long-term imbalance in income and public spending. Before seeking a balance, the parties need to reach a common understanding on the proportions of the matter.
The National Coalition Party sees the gap as being deeper than the Social Democrats or the Left Alliance.
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SDP’s Heinäluoma sees euro guarantee stance as biggest change in Finnish EU policy in 16 years

SDP’s Heinäluoma sees euro guarantee stance as biggest change in Finnish EU policy in 16 years | Finland | Scoop.it
Social Democratic Party Parliamentary group chairman Eero Heinäluoma says that the agreement reached between the SDP and the National Coalition Party last week on Finland’s terms for agreeing to guarantees of bailout money to Portugal is “Finland’s biggest EU policy revision in 16 years”.
Under the agreement, Finland is agreeing to the bailout package for Portugal, but subsequently, Finland “will not even consider” loans under the temporary European Financial Stability Facility if the country accepting the loan does not put up collateral.
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Moving Finnish Line Confounds Euro Zone - Wall Street Journal

Moving Finnish Line Confounds Euro Zone - Wall Street Journal | Finland | Scoop.it
BY RICHARD BARLEY

Portugal is one step closer to receiving its €78 billion ($111 billion) bailout. But the conditions laid down by Finland for approving the package raise questions about the euro zone's ability to deal with future crises.

Much depends on whether a deal struck between Finland's National Coalition Party and Social Democratic Party has teeth or is just political cover to avoid an immediate crisis.
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SDP and NCP in Negotiations on Bailout

SDP and NCP in Negotiations on Bailout | Finland | Scoop.it
The conservative National Coalition Party and the Social Democrats are negotiating the Portugal aid package on Wednesday. SDP chair Jutta Urpilainen entered negotiations around noon, meeting National Coalition chair Jyrki Katainen.
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Sasi: SDP to Seal Bailout’s Fate

Sasi: SDP to Seal Bailout’s Fate | Finland | Scoop.it
Kimmo Sasi, chair of a working group aiming for a common stance on the Portugal bailout package, says the Social Democrats hold the key to the issue.
National Coalition MP Sasi told YLE that, if the SDP were to say "yes", then the door could be open to Finnish acceptance of the EU package for Portugal. He is inclined to believe that the SDP will go along with the package.
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Government of three largest parties envisioned

Government of three largest parties envisioned | Finland | Scoop.it
SDP’s Urpilainen says government of big three no foregone conclusion.
The possibility and responsibility in setting up a government is now with the National Coalition Party, Soini noted. However, he saw a government of the three largest parties, the National Coalition, the Social Democrats, and the True Finns as quite a likely outcome.
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