|Republic of Finland|
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The Council of State (Finnish: Valtioneuvosto, Swedish: Statsrådet; officially rendered Finnish Government) is Finland's cabinet; it directs the Government of Finland. However, in governmental translations to English, the distinction is often blurred between cabinet and government in the wider sense. This wider sense includes the Parliament of Finland (on which the cabinet is dependent), the governmental agencies that are directed by the Cabinet, and the independent judicial branch of government. In spite of the occasisional blurring by translators, the difference is significant.
In 1918, after Finland's independence, the Cabinet, that in the Grand Duchy of Finland had been called the Senate of Finland, was reorganized and renamed to the Council of State. One of the main objectives of that reform was to separate the judiciary from the executive branch.
According to the recent revision of the Constitution of Finland (as of 2000), the power over foreign affairs is retained by the president, as it also is in France, although with a narrow definition of foreign affairs that excludes influence over preparations of decisions within the European Union. International treaties and declaration of war are within the authority of the parliament.
With the constitution of 2000, Finland adheres de jure to the principles of Parliamentarism, although de facto all presidents since Kyösti Kallio (1936–1940) have chosen to appoint cabinets supported or tolerated by parliamentary majorities.
Matters within the authority of the Cabinet are decided at plenary meetings, with a quorum of five ministers present, in the case of matters of wide importance and matters that are significant for reasons of principle. Less important matters are decided within the respective ministries.
Matters within the authority of the President are decided at plenary meetings of the Cabinet, with the exception of appointments, pardon, and calling of extraordinary elections.
The current Council of State, the 70th to be formed since Finland's independence, was appointed by President Tarja Halonen on April 19, 2007. The current Council of State is a coalition comprising the Centre Party (KESK), the National Coalition (KOK), the Green League (VIHR), and the Swedish People's Party (SFP). There are 12 women and 8 men in the cabinet, which makes it the first cabinet in Finnish history with female majority. The current cabinet also has more ministers than any of its predecessors; it has 20 ministers, while the former cabinet had 18.
|Prime Minister||Matti Vanhanen||Centre Party|
|Minister of Finance, Deputy Prime Minister||Jyrki Katainen||National Coalition|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs||Alexander Stubb||National Coalition|
|Minister for Foreign Trade and Development||Paavo Väyrynen||Centre Party|
|Minister of Justice||Tuija Brax||Green League|
|Minister of the Interior||Anne Holmlund||National Coalition|
|Minister of Immigration and European Affairs||Astrid Thors||SFP|
|Minister of Defence||Jyri Häkämies||National Coalition|
|Minister of Public Administration and Local Government||Mari Kiviniemi||Centre Party|
|Minister of Education||Henna Virkkunen||National Coalition|
|Minister of Culture and Sport||Stefan Wallin||SFP|
|Minister of Agriculture and Forestry||Sirkka-Liisa Anttila||Centre Party|
|Minister of Transport||Anu Vehviläinen||Centre Party|
|Minister of Communications||Suvi Lindén||National Coalition|
|Minister of Trade and Industry||Mauri Pekkarinen||Centre Party|
|Minister of Social Affairs and Health||Liisa Hyssälä||Centre Party|
|Minister of Health and Social Services||Paula Risikko||National Coalition|
|Minister of Labour||Anni Sinnemäki||Green League|
|Minister of the Environment||Paula Lehtomäki||Centre Party|
|Minister of Housing||Jan Vapaavuori||National Coalition|