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Government sails through no-confidence vote over new agenda

Prime Minister Rinne passes first parliamentary test, as speaker Vanhanen goes on sick leave

Pääministeri Antti Rinne eduskunnan täysistunnossa Helsingissä 11. kesäkuuta 2019.
Prime Minister Antti Rinne delivering his proposed agenda to parliament on Tuesday Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva

The newly-assembled government of Prime Minister Antti Rinne won a vote of no-confidence over its proposed agenda by 113 votes to 75 in parliament on Thursday. The programme includes proposals on reversing the controversial activation model set into motion by the previous administration to get unemployed people into jobs, a national strategy for children, and a number of reforms aimed at helping young people.

The vote of no-confidence had been tabled by the three main opposition parties - the National Coalition Party, the Finns Party and the Christian Democrats - after the government rolled out its proposals to parliament over the course of two days earlier this week.

Criticisms

Opposition parties were fiercely critical of the government's four-year plan throughout the parliamentary debate.

The Finns Party, now the largest opposition party in Finland, criticised the administration for measures which they argued would increase the cost of housing and transportation. The populist party also questioned plans to create more ministerial aide positions.

The National Coalition Party cast doubt over the financial sustainability of the government's agenda, and also urged the incoming coalition to propose measures aimed at improving employment.

Motion easily defeated

Rinne's government however have a comfortable majority in parliament, and the motion of no-confidence was easily defeated.

The government has 117 MPs in the 200-seat parliament - with representatives from the Social Democrat Party, the Centre Party, the Greens, the Left Alliance and the Swedish People's Party. Additionally, Harry Harkimo, a member of the Movement Now (Liike Nyt) group, had also indicated in advance his intention to support the new government's proposed agenda.

Speaker on sick leave

Meanwhile former prime minister Matti Vanhanen of the Centre Party, who was elected to the role of parliamentary speaker last week, will take sick leave from Friday 14 June.

Matti Vanhanen keskustan eduskuntaryhmän kokouksessa Helsingissä 7. kesäkuuta 2019.
Parliamentary speaker Matti Vanhanen has announced he will be on sick leave from the end of June Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva

Last week, Vanhanen indicated in an interview with Yle his intention to take leave due to an upcoming heart operation.

Deputy speakers Tuula Haatainen of the Social Democratic Party and Juho Eerola of the Finns Party will share the speaker's duties during Vanhanen's absence.

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