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Finland

Yearbook 2010

Finland. Minister of Local Government and Administration Mari Kiviniemi was elected new chair of the Center Party in June after Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, who announced his resignation six months in advance. This meant that Kiviniemi, 41, also took over as prime minister after Vanhanen. She thus became Finland's second female prime minister.

2010 Finland

According to COUNTRYAAH, Kiviniemi took over as head of government at the end of June for a coalition that retained its previous composition: the Center Party, the Collecting Party, the Swedish People's Party and the Green League. Kiviniemi stressed the importance of starting economic growth to increase tax revenue. In June, the EU Commission declared that Finland must reduce its budget deficit from 4.1 per cent to a maximum of 3 per cent of GDP in 2011.

2010 FinlandAlthough support for nuclear energy decreased in public opinion, the Riksdag decided this summer that two new nuclear power plants should be built, the sixth and seventh reactors. At the same time, the Riksdag also decided on a final repository for spent nuclear fuel. Outside the parliament, protests took place, and the issue divided the government parties. The Greens voted against the proposal, as did a number of members from other government parties. Construction starts for the new reactors are planned for 2014, one of them a few miles from Haparanda or at the Gulf of Bothnia at the height of Skellefteň.

During the autumn, a dispute arose about the position of the Swedish language in Finland. In a new division of the regional administration, the municipality of Karleby was allowed to expand south towards Swedish-speaking Vasa instead of north towards Finnish-speaking Oulu, contrary to the government's proposal. The matter was decided by the Chancellor of Justice with the argument that otherwise, the Carleby residents would receive poorer service in their Swedish mother tongue. Center leader and Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi expressed criticism of the Finnish Swedes, and center politicians spoke of the fact that the Constitution which guarantees bilingualism should be reviewed. Former Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen (S), in turn, criticized Kiviniemi and warned of vendetta against Swedishness and the Swedish language.

From eastern Finland came the desire to give school pupils the opportunity to study Russian instead of compulsory Swedish, since Russians come for border trade. Prime Minister Kiviniemi was positive about the proposal, which was also supported by Russian Federation Prime Minister Vladimir Putin when Kiviniemi visited the country at the end of the year.

The xenophobic party True Finns increased their popularity during the year and in October received support of 12.5 percent of the electorate, according to an opinion poll. The Socialist Party had the most support with 22 percent, followed by the Social Democrats with 19.7 percent and the Center Party with 18.9 percent.

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