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Portfolios Set for Vanhanen's Second Government

The conservative National Coalition Party is to get control of the foreign minister's portfolio in a new four-party cabinet. The National Coalition is to also have control of finance, the interior, education, basic services and the Speaker of Parliament's post.

Centre Party leader Matti Vanhanen will continue as prime minister. The National Coalition Party, the Swedish People's Party, and the Green League will name their ministers on Monday. The Centre Party will announce its list of ministers on Tuesday.

Together, the two large parties, the National Coalition and the Centre will each hold eight portfolios and the Greens and Swedish People's Party two each. The total number of ministerial posts in the cabinet is being expanded from 18 to 20.

Centre Party leader Matti Vanhanen continues as prime minister. The new defence minister will be named from the National Coalition and the minister for cultural affairs from the Swedish People's Party.

At the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the minister responsible for transport will be from the Centre and the minister responsible for communications from the National Coalition.

The Centre Party will hold the environmental affairs portfolio and the National Coalition, the housing portfolio.

The Swedish People's Party will get the portfolio of the Minister of Culture and Sport, as well as that of Minister of European Affairs and Immigration.

The Greens will get the post of Minister of Justice and Minister of Labour.

Super ministry As of the beginning of next year, Finland will see the establishment of a new "super ministry" when the Ministry of Trade and Industry will take over labour affairs, regional policy and copyright issues, possibly renamed as the "Ministry of Labour and Commerce". In practice, this may mean that the Ministry of Labour will be dissolved. Immigration issues will be transferred to the Ministry of the Interior. Tax cuts and more spending

Vanhanen announced Saturday that the new government will ease the total tax burden by 1.8 billion euros and increase expenditures by 1.3 billion.

In addition to the 1.3 billion euro increase, 250 million in funds already budgeted will be shifted and realigned.

The new government programme aims at bringing the state budget into surplus by 2011. The surplus will be earmarked for paying the principle on the state debt.

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