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SDP coalition partners prepared to stick with Rinne's programme

Centre-left coalition partners say they still believe in the programme hammered out under ousted PM Antti Rinne.

Image: Mikko Stig / Lehtikuva

Coalition partners on Saturday said they approved of former PM Antti Rinne’s government programme, responding to a survey sent out by him to help move government formation talks along. Rinne, who resigned earlier this week, is leading negotiations on forming a new government.

Rinne’s five-party coalition was made up of the Social Democratic Party, the Centre Party, the Greens, the Left Alliance and the Swedish People's Party.

The Social Democrats' government partners also said they were prepared to form a new government led by the SDP.

However parties in the opposition—the Finns Party, the National Coalition Party, the Christian Democrats and Movement Now—responded that they were not prepared to approve the programme crafted by Rinne’s administration.

Rinne, who was ousted from the premiership earlier this week, will meet with parliamentary group representatives starting Sunday morning in an effort to assemble a new cabinet by next Tuesday.

The SDP’s party council is set to choose a prime ministerial candidate on Sunday evening.

Postal scandal toppled Rinne

A protracted postal strike this autumn over workers' terms and conditions culminated in the resignation of the SDP minister in charge of overseeing state-owned firms, Sirpa Paatero. News emerged that she knew of Posti's plans to shift some workers to a lower-paying contract and misled MPs about it. Since then, there have been indications that former union boss Rinne, too, knew of the plan and tacitly approved it in August.

These events led to the Centre Party expressing a lack of confidence in Rinne, which ultimately led to him stepping down as prime minister ahead of a parliamentary challenge filed by opposition parties.

Finland eyes 30-something premier

Two politicians are in the running for the premiership: Minister of Transport and Communications Sanna Marin, who is the deputy party chair and a former acting party chair, and Antti Lindtman, leader of the SDP parliamentary group.

Finland's next premier will eventually be elected by Parliament and appointed by the president.