STTK working to impact
next government programme
(12.11.2010 - Juhani Artto) Like other major interest groups and
organizations, The Finnish Confederation of Professionals STTK has prepared,
in cooperation with its affiliated unions, a document in which it sets out
its goals aimed at the next government programme. The Parliamentary
elections will be held in April 2011 but STTK and the other interest
organizations have had their own proposals for the next government programme
ready for some time.
By outlining and making known their own proposals in advance the interest
organizations try to influence the election campaigns of the various
political parties and individual candidates. And after the election STTK and
other influential interest organizations are closely consulted when
political parties negotiate on which parties will form the next government
and on the kind of programme the government will follow.
In Finland many political analysts say that the single most important
document in Finnish politics is the government programme. There are good
reasons to think so.
The pattern of having long-time coalition governments has prevailed for over
30 years. In practice, it has been the rule to have a majority coalition
government throughout the whole 4-year legislative period. There has always
been the odd reshuffle with some ministerial changes in the course of a
government, and even a change of Prime Minister on a couple of occasions,
but basically the coalition of ruling parties have remained unchanged for
the whole 4-year period. Only the outcome of fresh elections has led to
changes in the ruling coalition.
Government programmes have been written and approved by the various
political parties that make up the ruling coalition for the entire 4-year
period, up until the next Parliamentary elections. As the goals of the
coalition partners can naturally be expected to differ in several more or
less important respects, and which need to be addressed and ironed out
within the next four years, government programmes are essentially key
Nowadays all stakeholders know, from experience, that (when it comes to the
Government’s agenda and all matters dealt with by Parliament) it is very
difficult to promote goals that are not included in the government
programme. Governments have tended to concentrate on implementing their own
STTK seeks to involve its rank and file members and grass-roots activists by
organizing, in various parts of the country, open meetings where the
government programme goals are explained. A series of such meetings began in
September, and many more of these type meetings are scheduled. Events like
this also serve to make STTK's goals known to election candidates and voters
in constituencies around the country.
The goals themselves do not offer any real surprises. The priority list
includes, for example, measures that promote employment and well-being at
work, income tax reduction, improvements in education and efforts to create
a more favourable milieu for economic growth. The goals are broken down into
five areas: public finances, taxation, "capable Finland", changing working
life and social security. The introduction handles climate change, energy
policy and structural changes in economic life.