Thursday, 21 March, 2019

Finland's entire centre-right government resigns

Finland’s Prime Minister Juha Sipila arrives at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels Belgium Finland's prime minister Juha Sipila offers government's resignation over failed healthcare reforms
Celia Hoffman | 10 March, 2019, 14:54

The populist True Finns, who were in government before splitting from their former ministers who founded a new party, have staged a recovery in recent months to 12 per cent, still below the 18 per cent they recorded in 2015.

"Prime Minister Sipilä will request to resign because the health care reform can not be accomplished during this government term", Kaikkonen tweeted. "I am a man of principle and in politics you have to carry responsibility", Sipila told reporters, adding: "I am taking my share of responsibility".

President Sauli Niinistö accepted the resignation and asked Mr Sipila's government to continue in office until the elections.

Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila's centre-right government resigned Friday after the governing coalition failed to agree on and push through a planned social and health reform.

Sipila resigned "because the healthcare reform can not be accomplished during this government term", Antti Kaikkonen, the head of Sipila's Centre Party's parliamentary group, wrote on Twitter.

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Politicians in Finland were split over Sipila's decision to resign so close to the election.

The reform tried to reorganize the welfare state amid an aging population and cut public spending by $3.4 billion in the next 10 years - an ambitious aim that many parties have tried and failed to achieve in the past.

Among the reforms discussed were a centralisation of services into new regional healthcare authorities - which would take over from the current local municipalities - and the use of more private health care providers, a subject of heated debate.

The Centre Party chair said that his coalition partners understood his reasons for proposing the government's resignation.

The collapse of the government came just weeks before Finnish voters will head to the polls to vote for the Parliamentary elections.

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