Niinistö elected as Speaker

For the lovers of inside pesäpallo, the freshly elected Speaker of the Parliament Sauli Niinistö (National Coalition Party) gave an interview to the Kaleva newspaper in which he spoke of his reasons (fi) for turning down the foreign affairs portfolio. Niinistö said that his position inside the Cabinet would have been used to undermine Coalition leader, Minister for Finance Jyrki Katainen. He compares the situation to the prime minister speculation before the election, when Katainen was repeatedly asked whether he or Niinistö were the party's candidate for prime minister. He also believed that dividing foreign policy power between the three leading candidates from the 2006 presidential election - himself, President Tarja Halonen, and Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen - would have been awkward. He describes the speakership as a "practical necessity", but doesn't admit that he's disappointed. He also opposes limiting the president's foreign policy powers, saying that "royalty is not needed in the republic".

There appears to be a real effort inside the Coalition to build up Katainen as the leader of the future that goes well beyond the sometimes lackluster support party insiders showed for the previous chairman, Ville Itälä. Niinistö in particular has acted like a genuine Katainen supporter.

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