Jyrki Katainen of the National Coalition party announced yesterday evening that the negotiations into forming a new ruling coalition will be postponed until he can ask some more necessary questions from the parties involved. This is due to an "information imbalance between parties." I'm guessing this wording means the True Finns' rising star Teuvo Hakkarainen will go back to primary school. (Seriously, the guy didn't finish primary school.) More to the point, this means Katainen will issue his questions this Thursday, and will receive answers next Monday. Also, the earliest point at which the parties will start assigning ministerial posts will be 18th May, conveniently just two days after the finance ministers' EcoFin summit where the Portugal aid package will be decided.
As you remember from the news and this blog, the True Finns said they would not take part in a coalition that would support the Portugal bailout. So for the True Finns this is like a divine intervention, meaning they can now vote against the Portugal bailout as well as take part in the ruling coalition, without having to reneg on any of their promises. To a lesser extent this is true for the Social Democratic party but they will probably vote for the bailout anyway, being a traditionally pro-EU party. True Finn leader Timo Soini and rather more interestingly, the Christian democrats' Päivi Räsänen were quick to comment on the decision, saying it was the definitely the right one to make. Maybe a sign the Christian Democrats will be in the governing coalition as well?
Opposing this blatant passing of the buck were the Left Alliance, Centre party, and the old bearded radical Social Democrat Jyrki Tuomioja, who is also the chairman of the general governing committee of the parliament, which would be tasked by Katainen to handle this issue for him. Tuomioja and acting prime minister Kiviniemi of the centre party both said it would be a highly unorthodox for an interim government to present such an important measure to the committee. Perhaps so, but there is no fixed date at which a governing coalition must be formed, and it looks like Jyrki Katainen will pull this one off. He will look like the slimiest most dishonest person ever but hey, let's be honest now, would you not do the same to secure a prime ministerial seat?