The new Parliamentary group of the Social Democratic Party delivered a snub to the party’s chairman Eero Heinäluoma on Thursday.
The group’s choice as its candidate for the Presidium of the Finnish Parliament was Johannes Koskinen, who had been pushed out of the government in 2005 to make room for Heinäluoma. In a vote, Koskinen narrowly defeated Matti Ahde, who had enjoyed the support of Heinäluoma.
Koskinen will probably become the second deputy speaker of Parliament. His nomination and narrow victory came as a surprise to Koskinen himself.
The SDP Parliamentary Group chose as its chair Tarja Filatov, the Minister of Labour in the outgoing government. She is the first woman to lead the SDP Parliamentary wing.
Filatov said that the SDP plans to continue to prioritise employment, welfare services, and income distribution questions.
The atmosphere at the meeting was described as downbeat, following the SDP’s disappointing showing in the Parliamentary elections.
At the beginning of the meeting Heinäluoma addressed the Social Democratic MPs, admitting that he had made errors during the campaign. He did not go into detail about what mistakes he might have made. The SDP MPs will go back to the subject on Monday.
Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja has criticised the SDP leadership in his blog over the setbacks in last week’s election. However, he denied to Helsingin Sanomat that he was planning to challenge Heinäluoma for the leadership.