Vanhanen in, Kulmuni out of “top 5” government line-up

Former PM, party leader and two-time presidential candidate Matti Vanhanen also takes on the role of Finland's Deputy Prime Minister.

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File picture of Finance Minister Matti Vanhanen (Centre) at Helsinki briefing, 9th June 2020 / Credit: Jussi Toivanen, VNK

Finland’s new Finance Minister Matti Vanhanen (Centre), who was sworn into the position by President Niinistö on Tuesday morning, also becomes the country’s new Deputy Prime Minister and will represent his party in the government’s “top 5” group.

That means a change of line-up as the government leaders go from five women, to four women and a man. Three of them – Li Andersson (Left), Anna-Maja Henriksson (SFP) and Maria Ohisalo (Green) are also the chairpersons of their respective parties; while Sanna Marin (SDP) and Vanhanen are not the leaders of their parties.

“The Minister of Finance Matti Vanhanen represents the Centre Party in five government coalition matters […] this clarifies the situation” says Marin. Those comments were echoed by Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä (Centre).

“In government ‘evening school’ sessions, it is possible to deal with larger strategic subjects. In addition to ministers, the chairpersons of parties and parliamentary groups also participate in those sessions” the PM adds.

Vanhanen press conference

Earlier on Tuesday Matti Vanhanen gave a press conference where he said the position of his party, and of the government, are the same when it comes to handling the coronavirus crisis, and that solutions require cooperation.

He also said he was reluctant to take on the role of deputy prime minister – and on Monday had said he wasn’t interested in the job – but by Tuesday morning he said he had been persuaded by this parliamentary group colleagues.

There is still speculation, encouraged by the opposition National Coalition Party, about whether the Centre Party will remain in government on a long term basis especially as new budgets have to be negotiated in the autumn and they’re considered more fiscally prudent than some of the other parties in power.