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Jyrki Katainen becomes Prime Minister

Parliament has approved National Coalition Party chair Jyrki Katainen as Prime Minister. The vote passed with118 MPs in favour and 72 against. President Tarja Halonen formally appointed the new six-party government led by Katainen at the Government Palace in Helsinki on Wednesday afternoon.

Jyrki Katainen saa onnitteluja edustajatovereiltaan.
Jyrki Katainen sai onnitteluja edustajatovereiltaan sen jälkeen kun hänet oli valittu pääministeriksi. Image: Yle

President Tarja Halonen dismissed the caretaker government headed by Centre party Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi. A ceremony marking the transition from Kiviniemi's administration took place late on Wednesday afternoon at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki.

Talks on the formation of a new cabinet ended last Friday with the publication of a new government programme. The new government is composed of the National Coalition, the SDP, the Left Alliance, the Green League, the Swedish People's Party and the Christian Democrats. Katainen's government will be the 72nd in the nation's history as the first led by the National Coalition Party in 20 years.

Katainen will now make his first official trip abroad as Prime Minister on Monday 27 June, when he will visit Estonia and Sweden. In Estonia he will meet President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, and in Stockholm he is scheduled to see Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

Leftist rebels

Two Left Alliance MPs – Jyrki Yrttiaho and Markus Mustajärvi – cast their votes against Katainen, even though the Left Alliance is part of the next government. Their parliamentary group voted unanimously to reprimand them.

Both MPs expressed opposition to cooperating with the National Coalition Party during the two-month government negotiation process, and Mustajärvi walked out of the talks.

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