The political parade in Finland has again turned in a full circle. A former prime minister and party leader of the Centre party has agreed to take over the heavy position of minister of finance after the resignation of his colleague, Ms Kulmuni.
Her departure was necessary after her poor leadership of the party – the Center Party has seen their popularity fall like a stone under her leadership. She also had to resign because she acknowledged her error in taking overly expensive public speaking training. It never looks good to spend some €50 000 on a personal trainer for a few hours each week for a few months. That is so extravagant for the “Minister of Austerity” to spend because it is what most households receive as annual pay before tax!
Mr. Vanhanen is a Center Party traditionalist, with some past sins, (like most politicians), but he was elected Speaker of the House in Parliament and is regarded by many to be one of the most careful hands in politics. There is no better school for politicians than to be put through the washing machine at some point in your career…
The present government has several challenges that it is facing. One is the big increase in debt that that will be borrowed to boost the economy after lockdown and the other is to deal with the EU is really extravagant coronavirus recovery proposal.
The government expects to see debt increase from around 60% of GDP to 100% of GDP in the coming years in order to finance projects to speed up the recovery of the economy and get the unemployment rate up to above 75%. Their proposals list many big infrastructure projects that have been planned already as well as the major proposal project to centralise health and social care with a third tier of government the new counties. This centralisation will involve many hundreds of thousands of staff and many hospitals and healthcare centres. The basic idea is to
create the new 21 counties, give them the right to tax residents for the job of handling health and social care that today is being handled by 160 municipal bodies. The funding and management of both projects will involve the Ministry of Finance and the appointment of Mr Vanhanen could not have come at a better time.
The EU also needs to be guided. Their €750 billion recovery project is also extravagant and not well-planned. The job of dealing with the EU at this moment will be quite demanding and require political and social skills that young politicians just do not have. Mr Vahanen should not have too many problems dealing with the EU as a former prime minister and as an experienced politician.
Finally, there is a chance that this man who many describe is boring, now in his greying years, he will soon be 65, may charm the electorate with his cool, and raise the prospects of an election win for the Centre party in the coming municipal elections.
Photo: Wikipedia Commons