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Finnish political leaders react to result of Swedish election
Vanhanen non-committal, Katainen welcomes defeat of Social Democrats
Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen (Centre) does not believe that the Parliamentary elections in Sweden have any bearing on next spring's elections in Finland.
In Sunday's election, the block of centre-right parties narrowly defeated the coalition led by the incumbent Social Democrats of Prime Minister Goran Persson.
"The situation is different, because in Sweden the parties are in blocks, while here in Finland, everyone competes with each other."
Vanhanen was also impressed by Sweden's voter turnout of 80 percent.
Vanhanen predicts that the Finnish Parliamentary elections will also be a very close race.
"Four years ago the difference between the Centre Party and the Social Democrats was 6,000 votes. In the previous elections it was 12,000. The past eight years have been very close", Vanhanen pondered.
Opposition National Coalition Party chairman Jyrki Katainen was pleased at the success of the centre-right alliance.
"I am really happy. I have not hoped this much for anything in recent times", Katainen told the Finnish News Agency STT after hearing the result of exit polls by Swedish Television.
Katainen said that he expects Fredrik Reinfeldt of the victorious Moderate Party, to be a prime minister of a new generation, with genuine means of reforming the welfare society in a responsible manner.
"It is interesting that a key theme that affected the result was employment policy. Sweden has been engaged in the same debate as Finland on how the welfare society can get by in globalisation, and what measures can be used to maximise employment. The Swedes have apparently given their support to a rightist policy line", Katainen said.
Katainen expects the themes that were in the forefront in Sweden's election to emerge in Finland's Parliamentary elections next spring.
"However, each country has its own elections. I hope that the question of employment and concrete means to secure the welfare society will also lead to fresh debate on the future in Finland as well", Katainen said.