Tuesday 9/22/20

Sanna Marin and Katri Kulmuni, a new power duo in Finland's Government

Kulmuni strengthens her weight within the Government by taking over the key Ministry of Finance. Resigned minister Sirpa Paatero is expected to return.

Sanna Marin and Katri Kulmuni. Photos: Kosti Keistinen/Finnish-Government.
Sanna Marin and Katri Kulmuni. Photos: Kosti Keistinen/Finnish-Government.

On Sunday, the council of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) of Finland nominated the current Minister of Transport and Communications Sanna Marin as their candidate for the post of new Prime Minister.

Antti Rinne's Government is serving in a caretaker capacity until the new Government is appointed.

If the script is fulfilled, this will end this week. Marin will be appointed by Parliament (Eduskunta) and will become at the age of 34 the youngest head of Government in the world.

This is a procedure in which it is unlikely that there will be surprises, because the coalition of parties that support the Government have together 117 seats out of the 200 that make up the Finnish Parliament (Eduskunta).

Surprises came, however, from the Center Party (Keskusta), the main partner of the Social Democrats in the Cabinet and the organization responsible for the fall of Antti Rinne by withdrawing its trust.

The party´s leader Katri Kulmuni -so far Minister of Economic Affairs- announced on Monday that she intends to take over the Ministry of Finance. Current holder of the portfolio, her party partner Mika Lintilä, would take over Kulmuni´s previous position as Minister of Economic Affairs.

Exchange of portfolios

What is the reason behind this exchange of portfolios between ministers of the same party?

In practice, the specific weight of Kulmuni within the Government will be reinforced. The control of this key department allows the holder of the portfolio to prepare the Government's economic and financial policies as well as to supervise the state budget, among other things. In Finland, the Minister of Finance also traditionally acts as deputy prime minister.

On Sunday, Kulmuni congratulated Sanna Marin for being designated for the post of Prime Minister. "The task of the Government is to improve the everyday life of Finns and to create hope for the future. Keskusta is ready for this job," she claimed on Twitter.

On Monday, after announcing that she intends to be the  Minister of Finance, she also emphasized that in a difficult situation "it is the responsibility of the party Chair to carry the heaviest portfolio." And she remarked that her party wants the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance to work together. Sanna Marin and Katri Kulmuni will replace two men as the new Government´s power duo within a Government also led by young women.

Return to the Government

The other surprise of the day was the announcement of the probable continuity in the Government of the former Minister of Local Government and Ownership Steering Sirpa Paatero, who resigned a few days before Antti Rinne also splashed by the poor management of the Postal Service strike.

The Government now assures that the resignation presented by Paatero, who left on sick leave, was never processed due to the fall of the entire Antti Rinne team. Her return to the ministry is part of Sanna Marin's plans to set up the new Government.

"It was great that the incoming Prime Minister showed confidence that I could continue," said Paatero. However, at this new stage she will be only Minister of Local Government. The responsibility for state Ownership will be transferred to the Minister for European Affairs Tytti Tuppurainen,

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