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Sun, 07 Jul, 2013 12:06:54 AM
Proposal for replacing state secretary by state minister
FTimes-STT Report, July 07

Disagreement surfaced among leaders of Finland’s ruling coalition over a proposal aiming apparently at bringing dynamism in the administration through replacing state secretaries by a junior minister at every ministry.  

The Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade, Alexander Stubb moved the proposal to appoint a state minister at every ministry in place of the state secretaries in the cabinet, Finnish language newspapers reported Saturday quoting the minister.

Stubb, a lawmaker of the largest partner in six-party alliance government Kokoomus (National Coalition Party), brought the proposal for what he says more democratization and smooth functioning of the administration.

A state secretary assists a minister in matters relating to political steering and preparatory work and he assists and represents the minister in drafting political guidelines, handling inter-ministry coordination and harmonising policy issues as per the minister’s guidelines.

The suggestions drew attention from both ruling and opposition parties with some of the ruling coalition lawmakers opposing the idea of appointment of a junior minister to head the bureaucratic functions instead of a secretary, who is considered the highest official below a minister in Finland.

"Appointment of a state minister among the lawmakers will help better coordination in the ministerial works, " the minister who piloted the proposal said, The existing system of coordination between the minister and state secretary is not much effective, he observed.

Introduction of the proposed system would strengthen the democratic process further, he added.

Parliamentary leader of Sosialidemokraattinen Puolue (Social Democratic Party-SDP) Jouni Backman straightway rejected the proposal saying it is unnecessary to double the number of cabinet members.

"The number of ministers is enough. If the number is made twice higher, we have to elect one minister in every five lawmakers," the lawmaker of  SDP, the second largest partner in the ruling alliance. told STT. It will only help inflate the size of the cabinet abnormally, he added.

The opposition Perussuomalaiset(True Finns) lawmaker, Pirkko Ruohonen Learner, welcomes the proposal saying a discussion should be continued on the matter.

Everything should be considered politically from a democratic point of view, he added.

Keskusta (Centre party) parliamentary leader Kimmo Tiilikainen also supported the Stubb’s proposal saying the state secretary comes from various interest groups and they have no clear knowledge on parliamentary democratic process.


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