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Finnish government: New ministers named as cabinet grows

Finland's Prime Minister Juha Sipilä's tripartite government has named three new cabinet ministers. The first new post, announced on Thursday, is going to Centre Party MP Jari Leppä, who will handle agriculture and forestry matters. The workloads of other portfolios are being divided among a slightly larger cabinet of ministers.

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (to left) with new Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Leppä, Minister of Local Government and Reform Anu Vehviläinen, Minister of the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen, current incoming Ministers of Family Affairs and Social Services Annika Saarikko and Juha Rehula, and Minister of the Economy Mika Lintilä. April 27, 2017. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

Finnish MP and farmer Jari Leppä was named Minister of Agriculture and Forestry on Thursday. Leppä, a member of the Centre Party, has served in parliament since 1999 and will now be responsible for some of the workload that fellow party member Kimmo Tiilikainen has carried out.

Leppä serves as chair on the Agricultural and Forestry committee, and says he wants to create growth in the food industry.

"The [food] industry has not grown in a long time," Leppä said Thursday, saying that one of his goals it to increase food exports.

Ministerial duty changes

While Kimmo Tiilikainen will continue as Minister of the Environment, he will also take up new duties regarding energy issues. The PM informally called Tiilikainen the "climate minister" on Thursday.

At the same time, Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä will take over the state ownership portfolio.

National Coalition Party's vice chair and MP Antti Häkkänen is Finland's new Minister of Justice. Image: Mikko Stig / Lehtikuva

The government, now in the second half of its four-year term, recently decided to increase the number of minister positions by three and to delegate ministers' work on portfolios considered to be the most arduous.

The National Coalition Party's vice chair and MP Antti Häkkänen was named Finland's new Minister of Justice, taking over the duties of the Finns Party's Jari Lindström.

Lindström will continue in his capacity as Minister of Employment, and the National Coalition Party's Sanni Grahn-Laasonen will continue in her job as Minister of Education.

As expected, the Finns Party's Sampo Terho will step into the job of Minister of Culture, Sport and European issues.

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