Parliament passes law on readiness for emergency situations
True Finns have misgivings over decreased presidential authority
Parliament gave its final approval on Wednesday to legislation on readiness for crisis situations. The measure shifts power in times of crisis from the President to the government.
Under new legislation, the implementation of the emergency measures is to take effect by a decree issued by the government. Under the old law, the President of the Republic issues the decree
Opposing the changes were MPs of the True Finns party.
“Maintaining a certain amount of power with the President, who is directly elected by the people, is better for democracy and healthier, than concentrating power in the hands of one person – in practice, the Prime Minister, who is not directly elected by the people”, said True Finns MP Jussi Niinistö.
A number of MPs felt that the concerns are exaggerated.
“The President will continue to have a very significant role. If this kind of readiness law situation comes sometime, it will be Parliament that ultimately decides if the authority can be taken into use”, Green League MP Tuija Brax pointed out.
The aim of the new legislation is to keep the population secure in the event of a severe crisis, such as an armed attack against Finland, a major disaster, or an outbreak of a communicable disease.
In the previous parliamentary term the Social Democrats were opposed to the wording of the bill, proposing instead that the implementation of the law should be decided by “The President of the Republic in cooperation with the government”.
Now SDP MP Tuula Väätäinen said on Wednesday that authority to issue a decree for implementing the law should be given to the government, but that ”the president, who is elected by the people, should not be bypassed when the people face a serious crisis”.
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