Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s refashioned government coalition faced — and passed — its first test of Parliamentary support Tuesday afternoon when it confortably won a confidence vote by MPs. Overall, 104 lawmakers voted to support the newly-reconstituted government, while 85 voted against backing it.
The coalition now comprises Sipilä’s Centre Party, Finance Minister Petteri Orpo's National Coalition Party and a breakaway faction of the Finns Party, previously known as the New Alternative and sporting the fresh moniker Blue Reform.
Former Finns Party member and Speaker Maria Lohela did not vote because of her role. Ten MPs were not present for the vote and there were no abstentions.
Lawmakers form the governing coalition who were absent from the vote were Foreign Trade and Development Minister Kai Mykkänen of the NCP, as well as Centre Party MP Aila Paloniemi.
New departure from Finns Party
Meanwhile Finns Party MP Veera Ruoho quit the nationalist party’s parliamentary group just before the vote and sided with the government on the confidence motion.
Arja Juvonen, another Finns Party MP who had previously left the parliamentary group but did not join the splinter group voted against the governing coalition.
On Monday MPs engaged in heated debate over the formation of the new government. The plenary session was the first since a decision by Sipilä and Orpo to partner with the Blue Reform parliamentarians to form a new coalition.
Last Monday, the leaders of the Centre and National Coalition parties announced that they would not be part of a coalition with a Finns Party led by anti-immigration hardliner Jussi Halla-aho.
The new division of MPs in the Parliament gives Sipilä a majority of 106 votes (the Speaker does not vote), while the Finns Party defections have reduced its representation to 15.