Antti Rinne choose four coalition partners for government

Social Democrats want to join with Centre Party, Greens, Left Alliance and Swedish People's Party.

Leaders of 5 parties in government coalition negotiations, Wednesday 8th May 2019 / Credit. Laura Kotila, Valtioneuvoston kanslia

Social Democrat leader Antti Rinne has chosen four other parties from the centre right and left of politics to try and form Finland’s next government.

At a Wednesday press conference Rinne said the Centre Party, Greens, Left Alliance and Swedish People’s Party were his preferred government partners.

They have immediately started more detailed, formal negotiations and form a clear majority in parliament with 117 out of 200 seats.

Winning the most seats in April’s general election put the Social Democrats in pole position to form the new government but for now it looks like the second and third biggest parties the Finns and National Coalition Party are heading into opposition.

“This coalition has the stability to form a majority government” said Rinne, who had initially weighed up the National Coalition Party as his main partners, but ultimately thought he could achieve more of his policy goals with the Centre Party.

“Finland needs a future government that takes one step further and makes responsible policies” Rinne said.

Overnight, the Centre Party changed its tune on being in opposition, and decided to throw its hat into the ring to be part of the next government, despite losing 18 seats at the election.

National Coalition Party leader Petter Orpo talks to journalists, 8th May 2019 / Credit: Laura Kotila, Valtioneuvoston kanslia

Politician reactions 

Key figures from politics were of course quick to react to today’s news developments with Left Alliance leader Li Andersson saying her party wanted to be involved “in the effort to reduce inequality, raise skill levels, equality and human rights policy”.

Green leader Pekka Haavisto says his part is “best placed to promote the fight against climate change and poverty, education and the environment”.

Other parties not included in the next government talks were more indifferent.

Finns Party chair Jussi Halla-aho told Finnish broadcaster MTV Uutiset that his party was willing to cooperate in government, but there was no willingness from the other side.

Meanwhile National Coalition Party chair Petteri Orpo said differences on economic policy were the reason his party dropped out of contention to be in the next government.

“Economic policy is a fundamental issue for us, because responsible economic policy, tax policy and employment are the foundation of all prosperity” he told journalists.

The National Coalition Party has been in power as part of the government for most of the last 32 years.