Lex Nokia passes in Parliament - government party ranks split
Greens were mainly opposed, or were absent from vote
The controversy over the bill known as Lex Nokia, a proposed law on data protection for electronic communications, tore the ranks of the government parties all the way to the final vote on the approval or rejection of the measure.
Parliament approved the bill by a vote of 96 to 56, with 47 Members of Parliament absent from the vote. Six of the 14 members of the Green League were absent, six voted in favour of the measure, and two - Jyrki Kasvi and Johanna Sumuvuori - voted against it. Their vote did not come as a surprise to anyone.
In a previous vote, three other Green MPs voted against the measure. Of them, Ville Niinistö, was present in the final vote, but abstained. Two others, Kirsi Ojansuu and Johanna Karimäki, were both absent.
Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen (Centre) was calm after the vote. He said that the Greens’ voting behaviour had been anticipated, and he was not particularly upset about it.
Minister of Defence Jyri Häkämies (Nat. Coalition Party) noted after the vote that the Greens' behaviour violated government rules. He anticipated a vote on additional funding for the Defence Forces. The Greens have opposed increases in military spending.
Centre Party Parliamentary group chairman Timo Kalli (Centre) said that Green Parliamentary group leader Anni Sinnemäki had said already on Tuesday that two of the members of the group would vote against the measure.
The government groups held a discussion on ground rules on Tuesday. Kalli says that at that time, the rules “were set with respect to what will follow”.
“It was agreed that in the future, things would not go like this”, Kalli said.
In the future everyone would be entitled to vote as they please in questions such as adoption for same sex couples and nuclear energy.
However, Kalli emphasised that the question of funding for the military is an important one, where deviation from the government line would not be tolerated for government party MPs.
Nuclear energy has traditionally been an issue in which Members of Parliament have been given free hands to vote according to their consciences.
In principle, the whole notion of party discipline in Parliamentary voting has been a foreign concept for the Greens.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Lex Nokia furore fuelled further by minister’s strip-search remark (13.2.2009)
National Audit Office denounces preparation of Lex Nokia (12.2.2009)
Green rebellion in Lex Nokia debate prompts Centre to take up Vuotos project again (26.2.2009)
SDP leader wants government to withdraw Lex Nokia (16.2.2009)