Finnish government ends after health reform plan fails in parliament

Grant Boone
March 10, 2019

"Juha Sipila has been the country's prime minister since 2015 after forming a three-party governing coalition with two other right-leaning parties".

Officials said the resignation was mainly due to the virtual failure of the coalition government's plan to reform the public healthcare system, which has been crucial to the ruling coalition's plan to balance public finances.

President Sauli Niinisto has asked the government to continue as a transition Cabinet until a new administration is appointed.

Sipila, a former businessman who earned millions as an IT entrepreneur before becoming prime minister in 2015, has made health and social reform one of his top priorities in office, seeing a shake-up as necessary to cut the ballooning costs of treating a rapidly ageing population.

Finland PM Juha Sipila said the resignation was triggered by the acceptance of the fact that government had failed to implement health reforms during its current tenure.

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"Big reforms are hard, also in Finland". The government's plan involved a drastic re-organization of the way health care is administered at a local level - with control being transferred from today's 190 local authorities to 18 newly established counties - as well as a greater role for the private sector.

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

The news comes as Finland prepares to hold parliamentary elections on 14 April to determine the composition of the nation's 200-seat legislature, the Eduskunta assembly. The government's resignation would not change the timetable for next month's elections, the justice ministry said.

"You could call this a failure for the government", Jokinen said.

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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