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Finnish PM expresses confidence in gov't after decision to quit

English.news.cn   2014-04-07 05:40:33

By Elina Xu

HELSINKI, April 6 (Xinhua) -- Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen on Sunday expressed confidence in the government after he announced the decision to step down in June a day earlier.

"The government's ability to make big decisions, such as structural reforms and austerity measures, has testified the government's strong functional competence," affirmed Katainen in an interview with reporters from several Finnish media on Sunday afternoon.

"I'm not irreplaceable, and Finland is not adrift (as storm approaches)," he said.

He also said that he would not run again for the Finnish parliament next year. "For example, membership of the (European) Commission or special duties outside the commission, which are given after the election - I am interested in them," he said.

Katainen announced that he will resign as chair of the National Coalition Party and head of the government in June.

Katainen made the announcement on Saturday night at a session of the National Coalition Party, held to launch its European election campaign.

Katainen revealed that he would compete for the post as Finland' s next EU commissioner in May, according to Finnish national broadcaster Yle.

"I've considered this very carefully and decided that I will not be available to continue as NCP chair after the party conference," Katainen was quoted as saying.

Finland's current European commissioner Olli Rehn is about to step down after the European elections in May.

Katainen's imminent departure sparked a heated discussion in Finnish media.

Yle described it as "setting off a political bomb", questioning whether the "lame duck"cabinet can "survive PM Katainen's departure."

It assumed that his resignation will add economic uncertainties to the country, when the government is still in the process of several major reforms and austerity measures.

The Nordic country is also baffled with political uncertainties. The Left Alliance quit the government last month over a governmental spend cut, and Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen, who is also the chair of the Social Democratic Party, the second biggest party in the coalition, is possible to be replaced after the upcoming SDP leadership election next month.

Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat's editorial said that Katainen's leaving would weaken the government, speculating that the coalition could probably be replaced by a "traditional bourgeois" government with both large parties and enough smaller non-leftist parties to form a majority.

However, Katainen promised that he would postpone his departure if Finland would be going on an exceptional crisis, reported the daily.

The 42 year-old premier has been the chair of the National Coalition Party for ten years since 2004. He won several elections and became the prime minister of the former six-party coalition government in June 2011.

He also served as finance minister in the previous cabinet led by the Center Party from 2007 to 2011, and as vice president of the European People's Party, the biggest political group in the European Parliament until 2012.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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