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Election winner promises cooperation with labour market organisations

PM Vanhanen: Centre takes loss of four seats seriously

Election winner promises cooperation with labour market organisations
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Jyrki Katainen, chairman of the National Coalition Party, which is poised to become one of the main parties in an upcoming coalition government, said on Tuesday that threats to employment need to be fought together with Finnish labour market organisations.
      Speaking at a meeting of his party’s executive on Tuesday, Katainen said that the party will seek close cooperation with labour unions, employers’ organisations, and entrepreneurs in order to establish a positive common spirit, and to dismantle conflicts and confrontations.
      However, he added that in any cooperation, the will of the National Coalition Party must come out "very strongly".
      According to some assessments, the election victory of the National Coalition Party could lead to problems in cooperation between the government and labour market groups. Katainen dismissed such assessments as unprofessional, and lacking vision.
Tripartite cooperation, involving labour unions, employers’ groups, and the national government needs to continue in questions in which it is warranted, he said.
      Katainen emphasised that tripartite cooperation involves three groups, and that it is not two sides agreeing on something to which the third gives its stamp of approval.
      Katainen was referring to criticism that in tripartite talks, labour market organisations take the lead, while the government takes a subordinate position.
The party executive of the National Coalition focused on analysing the party’s massive victory in the Parliamentary elections. Katainen said that he was pleased that he is no longer the youngest member of the party’s Parliamentary group.
      However, he added that he is just a couple of days older now than he was before the elections.
      "So all the reasons to continue the discussion about me being too young for everything still exist."
Centre Party leader Matti Vanhanen says that it is necessary to analyse carefully why the party lost four Parliamentary seats in the election. According to Vanhanen, the causes of the setback should be reflected in the policy programme of the next government.
      "The loss of four seats needs to be taken seriously as a message", Vanhanen said on Tuesday in a speech he gave at the beginning of a meeting of the Centre Party executive.
      He added that the election result will affect the composition of the government, but that the programme is also important.
      He emphasised the significance of the government programme for economic and employment development. "The coming four years are an intact period before the large age groups start retiring", he said.
      Vanhanen repeated his view that in the upcoming negotiations it is necessary to reconcile the financial policy differences between the parties, even though the views came closer to each other in many respects during the election campaign.
      He added that in spite of the setback, the election result was historic for the Centre Party. In spite of being in the government, the 100-year-old party managed for the first time to hold on to the position of the largest party both with respect to the number of votes, and the number of Parliamentary seats.
      Assessing the result, the party noted that the Centre lost support in the cities to the National Coalition Party and the Greens, and in rural areas, many voters switched to the True Finns.
      The trend was attributed to anti-EU sentiment in the countryside, agricultural policy decisions, and the problems of those with low incomes.

Previously in HS International Edition:
  Incumbent Prime Minister Vanhanen anticipates four-party government (20.3.2007)
  Centre-right grouping offers only viable majority government in new Parliament (19.3.2007)

Helsingin Sanomat

  21.3.2007 - TODAY
 Election winner promises cooperation with labour market organisations

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