Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila

Finnish government resigns over failure to pass reforms

NEWS DIGEST–Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila tendered his centre-right government’s resignation on Friday after it failed to push a through a social and health care reform package, the president’s office announced.

“Prime Minister Juha Sipila has submitted the resignation of the government to President of the Republic Sauli Niinisto… today,” Niinisto’s office said in an announcement made just five weeks ahead of legislative elections scheduled for April 14.

“The president has accepted the government’s resignation and asked it to continue on a caretaker basis until a new government has been appointed.”

Sipila has since 2015 headed a coalition made up of his Centre Party, the conservative National Coalition, and Blue Reform, a moderate faction spun off from the far-right.

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.

The proportion of over-65s in the Nordic country, which has a population of 5.4 million, is expected to reach 26 per cent by 2030.

The reform has been a hard-wrought struggle over a decade and has divided successive governments.