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Sanna Marin: This is "the last time" coalition rules are broken

The Centre Party has been warned about future conduct, as the coalition heads into its final months.

Sanna Marin (SDP) said that there could be no more backsliding on agreements within the governing coalition. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva
Yle News

Finland's slow-burn government crisis came to a head on Wednesday when the Centre Party voted to strike down parts of the Nature Conservation Bill as it went to a vote in parliament.

The party had previously joined opposition parties in committee to amend the law, weakening protection for endangered species in Finland.

That broke long-standing convention in Finland, whereby government parties defend their proposals in parliament, once they have been agreed on by ministers.

"It's not right that the government's rules of the game are broken, that is that proposals unanimously decided on in government are not defended in parliament," said Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) in parliament on Wednesday.

"I want this country to have a functioning government with this coalition, but it is not possible for the rules to be continually broken without any consequences."

Marin said that the "milk has already been spilled" in relation to the Nature Conservation law, which was amended by a vote in parliament on Wednesday after the Centre joined with the National Coalition Party, Finns Party and Christian Democrats to vote for its amended proposal.

Marin said that the party leaders had agreed that this would be the last time government agreements were broken — or the government would fall.

"We stated that if there is a similar situation in future, where the government's rules of cooperation are not followed, then there would no longer be a government," said Marin. "I could use the words that this was the final time."

Marin said that Centre leader Annika Saarikko had told her that the matter had been discussed in the Centre's parliamentary group and it had been agreed that the parliamentary group would also abide by the same rules.

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