Finland PM resigns, but coalition expected to survive

Updated December 04, 2019

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Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne speaks at a press conference after giving his resignation to President Sauli Niinisto at the President's official residence M'ntyniemi in Helsinki, Finland on  Tuesday. — AP
Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne speaks at a press conference after giving his resignation to President Sauli Niinisto at the President's official residence M'ntyniemi in Helsinki, Finland on Tuesday. — AP

HELSINKI: Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne resig­ned on Tuesday after losing the support of the coalition partner Centre Party, thou­­gh the governing alliance is expected to stay in power to avoid a snap election.

A Social Democrat who has headed the centre-left five-party government since June, Rinne handed his resignation to President Sauli Niinisto, who asked the government to stay on in a caretaker capacity until a new go­vernment has been appoi­nted, the presidency said.

“All of the governing parties have confidence in me, except the Centre Party. When I was told why they no longer have confidence in me, I made the decision to resign,” Rinne said.

The Centre Party was angered after the prime mi­­n­­­­­­­ister was accused of lying by the head of Finland Post — the culmination of a long-running dispute over re­­fo­rms to the pay and conditions for some postal workers.

“All of the government parties are committed to the... government programme. If (me) being prime minister jeopardises the government programme, it is better that I steer clear of it,” Rinne told reporters.

The Social Democrats, Finland’s biggest party, will now appoint a successor to try to form a new government, which could take days or even weeks.

Sanna Marin, the party’s number two behind Rinne and the current minister of transport, has already said she would be willing to take over.

Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2019