Friday, 22 March, 2019

Finland's entire government resigns after breakdown of agreement on welfare state reform

Finland's Prime Minister Juha Sipila had made health and social reform one of his top priorities in officeMore Finland's Prime Minister Juha Sipila had made health and social reform one of his top priorities in officeMore
Anna Jefferson | 10 March, 2019, 20:31

Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila stepped down just weeks before a general election after failing to push through parliament plans to overhaul health services and social care in the face of an aging population. "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".

"Prime Minister Sipilä will request to resign because the health care reform can not be accomplished during this government term", Kaikkonen tweeted.

Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila officially Friday offered his government's resignation to the country's president after it failed to put through a social and health care reform package, saying he was "hugely disappointed", the president's office announced.

Finland has one of the most rapidly ageing populations in the world and has been discussing reforms of its healthcare system for decades but passing any meaningful measures has proved politically all but impossible.

Under the plan, regional governments would take over the provision of care from local municipalities.

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The move comes week before Finland holds parliamentary elections on April 14 to renew Finland's 200-seat Eduskunta assembly.

Sipila, a former businessman who became a millionaire in the IT field, has been prime minister since May 2015.

This reform could have taken the annual growth of social and health care costs between 2019 and 2029 to 0.9% down from the current 2.4% which made the Opposition to launch an onslaught on the government over the failure. The coalition included his own Center Party, the National Coalition Party and the small populist Blue Reform Party, once part of the euroskeptic True Finns.

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

Finland is assuming the European's Union rotating presidency on July 1.

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