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Home NATIONALDecision to increase assistants for ministers criticised
Thu, 03 Apr, 2014 02:35:05 AM
FTimes-STT Report, March 3
File picture of chairperson of the parliamentary Audit Committee, Tuija Brax. Photo Lehtikuva.
The decision to increase the number of assistants to the ministers has come under strong criticism.
Tuija Brax, head of the parliamentary Audit Committee, on Wednesday said she was surprised to know about the decision because it was contradictory to the committee’s position. In February, the committee criticised the expansion of ministerial aides.
The government decided to give one assistant each to all the five parties in the alliance government as part of the redistribution of portfolios after Vasemmistoliitto (Left Alliance) pulled out.
The Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Sports and Culture were vacated last week with the resignation. Instead of appointing new ministers, the government decided to distribute the responsibilities among the existing cabinet members. 
File picture of Sirkka-Liisa Anttila. Photo Lehtikuva
The 17 existing ministers already have a total of 47 aides and state secretaries. The role played by the aides becomes more complex when tasks are shared between political aides, special advisers and state secretaries.
The smaller parties in the government have just one or two cabinet members. As a result, it becomes hard for this handful of ministers to attend all the meetings on their parties’ behalf. They said that was why they needed more aides to represent them in important meetings.
A former minister of Justice, Brax, who did not quite conform to the explanation put forward by the smaller parties, said she would like to seen an analytical explanation of all the tasks.
Sirkka-Liisa Anttila, a member of the audit committee, criticised the decision saying it would send a wrong message to the people about the government.
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