Social Democrats and Swedish People’s Party unveil their new ministerial teams

So far nine ministers, including the Prime Minister, have been named with the Centre Party, Greens and Left Alliance still to reveal their top picks.

File picture of new Social Democrat government ministers in Helsinki, 4th June 2019 / Credit: @DimitriQvintus Twitter

The Social Democrats SDP, winners by a one seat margin in April’s general election, have unveiled their new ministerial team for the next government. The smaller Swedish People’s Party SFP have also named their two ministers on Monday.

Incoming Prime Minister Antti Rinne introduced his politicians at an event in Helsinki, saying he chose the new ministers based on experience, gender and their specific skills for the job.

In a party with two distinct wings – the traditionalist trade union movements, and the younger more progressive side – Rinne has picked several of the latter to his top team including two MPs who challenged him to be party leader. The list of new ministers is more international and future-looking than might have been expected from ex-trade union boss Rinne.

Who are the new SDP Ministers? 

Former journalist Timo Harakka (56) becomes becomes Minister of Labour – perhaps a surprise since this job was widely thought to be going to Antti Lindtman, the leader of the SDP Parliamentary Group.

Tampere MP Sanna Marin (33) becomes Minister for Transport and Communications. She raised her profile within the party and nationally filling in for Rinne during a long spell of sick leave earlier this year. Marin says her job “has an important role to play” in achieving Finland’s climate change objectives in particular.

Ville Skinnari (45) is the new Minister for Development and Foreign Trade, and bring his own experience working in international business to the role. The Lahti politician was a former pro-ice hockey player in his younger days.

The new Minister for Local Government is Sirpa Paatero (54). She’s been an MP since 2006, and comes from Kotka on the south coast.

Oulu MP Tytti Tuppurainen is the new Minister for European Affairs and like Timo Harakka, previously challenged Rinne as leader of the party. She has spent a lot of time in the past year on European-related issues and was tipped early on for this job.

Krista Kiuru lead the committee examining the previous government’s failed attempts to reform Finland’s social and welfare system and was widely regarded as having been a very steady pair of hands in that role. She now becomes Minister for Families and Social Services. The 44 year-old former education minister from Pori did her high school exchange in Scotland.

As expected, former finance minister and former SDP leader Jutta Urpilainen will become Finland’s EU Commissioner although exactly which portfolio Finland will be handed is not decided until later in the year.

Swedish People’s Party 

With only two ministerial positions, the Swedish People’s Party didn’t have a lot of cards to shuffle in the deck.

Party leader Anna-Maja Henriksson (55) becomes Minister of Justice, a role she’s held in a previous government. She’s been party leader for the last three years.

And finally, Tammisaari MP Thomas Blomqvist (54) becomes Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality – a new ministerial portfolio for this administration.