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Halonen at closing of Parliament: People satisfied with foreign and security policy

Speaker Paavo Lipponen bids farewell


Halonen at closing of Parliament: People satisfied with foreign and security policy
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Finns are relatively satisfied with the handling of Finnish foreign and security policy, said President Tarja Halonen in her speech at the closing of the Parliamentary term on Tuesday.
      In her address to the outgoing Parliament, Halonen said that citizens' concern about the future would seem to focus primarily on health care services, the well-being of the elderly, and climate change.
      "You don't have to be much of a fortune teller to say that these issues will be found on the agenda of the next government as well", Halonen said.
     
Both the President and the outgoing Speaker Paavo Lipponen (SDP), who gave his last speech in Parliament on Tuesday, felt that the balance of power of the different branches of government should be assessed during the next term.
      However, Halonen also emphasised that the rules have worked well, and that the past seven years have been a "very short" period in assessing how well the new constitution works.
     
Lipponen urged the new Parliament to consider whether or not limits should be placed on the right of Members of Parliament to hold the floor, as has often been done around the world. "Far too often debate in the chamber starts to stagnate without any new points of view coming up", he said.
      Lipponen called for better preparation of legislation from the government. He said that Parliament has to patch up bills too much.
      In his final remarks, Lipponen lavished praise on the Parliament's staff, leading Members of Parliament, workers of the Parliamentary groups, and journalists covering Parliament.
      Lipponen's voice choked with emotion as he separately praised Deputy Speakers Sirkka-Liisa Anttila (Centre) and Ilkka Kanerva (Nat. Coalition). After a brief pause, he managed to complete his speech.
      In her response, Anttila called Lipponen one of the few Finns "who can be said, without reservation, to be a European statesman".


Previously in HS International Edition:
  Outgoing Parliamentary Speaker urges calm on NATO issue (13.3.2007)

Helsingin Sanomat


  14.3.2007 - TODAY
 Halonen at closing of Parliament: People satisfied with foreign and security policy

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