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Finnish talks to form six-party coalition resume

HELSINKI - Agence France-Presse | 6/10/2011 12:00:00 AM |

Finland's likely next PM said Friday he would again try to form a coalition with six of the eight parties in parliament, nearly two months after his party came out on top.

Finland's likely next prime minister said Friday he would again try to form a coalition with six of the eight parties in parliament, nearly two months after his party came out on top after the elections.

"We've decided to resume the so-called “six-pack” coalition talks and we are determined to succeed," said Jyrki Katainen, the head of the conservative National Coalition Party.

Katainen told reporters he had given himself a week to wrap up the talks, setting a June 17 deadline for the formation of a new government.

Katainen has been trying to form a coalition since the April 17 election, making the ongoing talks the longest formation negotiations in decades.

A week ago, the Social Democratic Party, or SDP, and the Left Alliance walked out of the talks to form the broad coalition, forcing Katainen to start his quest to form a government from scratch.

But on Friday, the SDP's leader Jutta Urpilainen told reporters he was still open to a deal and "had strong belief that this group will find answers to the questions we left open last week."

If Katainen fails this time, the heads of the parties could pick someone else to head the negotiations.

The unusually broad six-party coalition would leave only outgoing Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi's Center Party, which slipped to fourth in the election, and the third-placed nationalist True Finns in opposition.

Katainen, whose party won 44 out of 200 seats in the legislature, has insisted it is important to form a majority government.

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