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SDP chair rejects calls to appoint new Foreign Minister

Social Democratic Party chair and Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen has rejected calls to appoint a new Foreign Minister, saying that incumbent Erkki Tuomioja is “the right man” for the job. The demands followed Urpilainen’s decision Friday to shake up the party's cabinet line-up.

Jutta Urpilainen
SDP chair Jutta Urpilainen has rejected calls to replace Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, saying he's "the right man" for the job. Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva

Speaking on Yle’s Ykkösaamu Saturday morning discussion programme, the SDP party chair put an end to speculation that Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja could be up for a change of portfolio.

“Tuomioja’s experience in leading foreign policy is unrivalled,” Urpilainen declared.

The 66-year-old Tuomioja was first elected to Parliament in 1970. He has served as Foreign Minister in 2000-2007 and again since 2011.

She admitted however that she had been contacted on many occasions by individuals who thought that Tuomioja should step aside. She said she also received similar queries about SDP heavyweight and current Parliamentary Speaker Eero Heinäluoma.

However the party chair insisted that in her view, they were “the right men” for the jobs.

Urpilainen said she saw the SDP moving in the direction of offering minister shorter terms in cabinet.

“I believe that in the future we will see two-year ministerial terms. The task, working methods and rhythm have become more fast-paced and demanding. I personally think that ministerial tasks are like other assignments. It is good to offer that opportunity to as many MPs as possible,” Urpilainen concluded.

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