Katainen will not seek new term as party leader ? successor to become new prime minister in summer

Party leader and Finland’s Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen is not seeking another term as chairman of the National Coalition Party (NCP). Mr Katainen?s fifth two-year term ends on the 14th of June when the NCP Party Congress elects a new Chairperson. The new party leader will be NCP?s candidate to assuke Prime Minister’s duties soon after the June party congress.

PM Katainen made the announcement tonight at the launch of NCP?s European election campaign.

The Katainen Government will resign but in practice the same five-party coalition is expected to continue under the new Prime Minister. The coalition government currently holds a 112/200 seat majority in Parliament. The change of Prime Ministers will not automatically affect ministers representing the other coalition parties, Social Democrats, The Greens, Swedish People?s Party and the Christian Democrats.

?I have been Party Leader for ten years now. I have served Finland for 15 years as Member of Parliament, four years as Finance Minister and three years as Prime Minister. With just one year to go before next parliamentary elections, I strongly felt this was the right time to hand party leadership to someone new?, PM Katainen said.

“During the past three years my government has implemented a series of far-reaching reforms to set Finland on the right course. A reform to strengthen Finnish municipalities is in implementation. A historical overhaul of Finnish social and healthcare services, with support from all Parties represented in the Parliament, will be presented to the Parliament this spring. Ongoing negotiations for a pension reform will be closed next fall”, PM Katainen said.

“During the past three years we have agreed on fiscal consolidation worth more than 3,5% per GDP. Finland is an AAA-rated country with a steady outlook. At the same time we have made significant investments to strengthen economic growth and create new jobs: We have increased investments in education and research, cut the corporate tax rate by 6 percentage points, increased labour market participation and created a series of incentives for SME’s. I feel I can leave Finland to my successor in a better shape than it was three years ago when I assumed office”, PM Katainen said.

PM Katainen says he is interested in European or other international positions, should the opportunity rise. In the meantime he will focus on serving Finland as a Member of Parliament.

?I am passionate about European and international cooperation. I would be very motivated to serve Finland and Europe in any capacity that Finnish and other governments deem appropriate?, PM Katainen said.