June 6, 2019 / 11:44 AM / 8 months ago

Finnish president appoints new centre-left coalition government

Government Negotiator and Social Democratic Party Chairman Antti Rinne speaks during a news conference about the programme of the next Finnish government and ministers in Helsinki, Finland June 3, 2019. Lehtikuva/Mikko Stig via REUTERS

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland’s president formally appointed on Thursday a new centre-left government, with Social Democrat leader Antti Rinne replacing the Centre Party’s Juha Sipila as prime minister.

Rinne is the first leftist prime minister in Finland in 20 years. His government programme includes tax hikes and increased spending to preserve the country’s generous welfare state.

The Social Democrats won the April 14 parliamentary election with just 17.7% of the vote, forcing them to look for partners to govern. Last week they reached an agreement with four smaller parties on a joint government programme.

Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Gareth Jones

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