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Govt falls: President asks cabinet to continue in caretaker capacity

The government reportedly collapsed over its failed social and health care reform.

Ministeriaitiossa, pääministeri Juha Sipilä (vas.), valtiovarainministeri Petteri Orpo ja eurooppa-, kulttuuri- ja urheiluministeri Sampo Terho eduskunnan suullisella kyselytunnilla Helsingissä 14. helmikuuta.
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä planned to ask President Sauli Niinistö to dissolve the Finnish Parliament on Friday morning. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

President Sauli Niinistö on Friday accepted Prime Minister Juha Sipilä's offer for the government to resign and asked the cabinet to complete its term in office in an administrative capacity.

Sipilä planned to ask Niinistö to dissolve the Finnish Parliament on Friday morning, according to a statement from the government, after it became clear parliament would not pass his flagship healthcare reform before elections due in April

The government said on its Twitter account that Sipilä would visit the president at his Mäntyniemi residence to tender his government's resignation.

The government planned to host a press conference at the prime minister's residence, Kesäranta, later Friday morning.

Yle had previous reported on Friday that the administration's contentious flagship social and healthcare reform package, colloquially known as "sote" had run into an insurmountable obstacle over proposed regional government elections.

The regional governments were to take over responsibility from local municipalities for providing social and health care services, a controversial element of which involved increasing the role of private providers.

News agency Reuters reported Friday that Sipilä intended to offer his government's resignation to the president. The agency quoted the head of the PM's parliamentary group as saying that the resignation was due to the failed healthcare reform.

National Coalition Party MP Arto Satonen told Yle that the situation will not make much difference as the government's term in office was nearly over.

Finland goes to the polls on 14 April to elect a new government.

Edit: Updated at 11.10am to affiliate Arto Satonen with the National Coalition Party and not the Centre Party as previously reported.

More to come.

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