Finland’s new prime minister elected, government sworn in

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Finland’s new centre-left coalition was sworn in on Thursday after parliament elected Social Democratic leader, Antti Rinne, as the new prime minister.

Rinne was elected by a 111 to 74 votes in the 200-seat legislature. 14 members were absent.

“I am a little tired but very happy,’’ Rinne said after the vote, adding that the five-party coalition looked forward to begin working.

As the largest party after the April 14, general election, the Social Democrats had the first shot at forming a new government.

The coalition comprises Rinne’s Social Democrats, the Centre Party, the Greens, the Left Alliance, and the Swedish People’s Party.

Earlier, President Sauli Niinisto, discharged the caretaker government led by outgoing Centre Party leader, Juha Sipila.

Sipila, announced his resignation as party leader after the Centre Party’s poor performance in the election.

His outgoing centre-right coalition also included the conservative National Coalition Party and the eurosceptic Blue Reform.

Sipila was not to join the 19-strong cabinet, and has said he would continue as an ordinary lawmaker.

Inspite of election setbacks, the Centre Party secured several key posts.

Mika Lintila is new finance minister, while his party colleague, Antti Kaikkon is to be minister of defence.

Pekka Haavisto, outgoing leader of the Greens and former UN envoy, is foreign minister.

The 61-year-old has twice run for president but lost both times to incumbent Niinisto.

Finland in July is due to take over the rotating EU presidency from Romania.

Also on Thursday, lawmakers elected former premier and ex-Centre Party leader, Matti Vanhanen, as parliamentary speaker.

He replaces Rinne.

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