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Centre paper: Social and healthcare reform plan is dead

Frantic efforts to approve the government’s sweeping social welfare and healthcare reform scheme or 'sote' before the end of the legislative term appear to have come to a halt. Yle's political correspondent calls the failure "a defeat for the whole political system".

Johanne Koskinen
SDP veteran Johannes Koskinen says his committee will make a formal announcement on Thursday. Image: Yle

With just over a week left before the end of its term, the government’s sweeping social welfare and healthcare reform plan is dead in the water. That is according to Suomenmaa, published by the main opposition Centre Party.

Its online edition reported late Wednesday afternoon that the project will be handed over for reconsideration by the next government and legislature – which according to opinion polls may well be Centre-led.

According to Suomenmaa, the parliamentary Constitutional Law Committee will decree on Thursday that the revised blueprint is still unconstitutional. Despite recent rewording, the bill still includes significant problems related to financing and democratic practices.

Koskinen: "Clear, unanimous statement" on Thursday

The paper quotes committee chair Johannes Koskinen, a Social Democrat and former justice minister, as saying the committee is aiming for a clear, unanimous statement. The committee will likely hold a press conference on the controversial issue around midday on Thursday.

The reform, known in Finnish as ‘sote’, was to have been the central legacy of the National Coalition Party-led government that took office in 2011, led first by Jyrki Katainen and then current Prime Minister Alexander Stubb. Its failure could have a significant impact on next month’s general election.

In a commentary published on Wednesday evening, Yle's political correspondent Kimmo Henriksson writes: "So there goes the Katainen-Stubb government's last big project. This is a defeat, not only for a government in its death throes, but for the whole political system."

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