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Ousted minister Paatero picks up new post

Less than two weeks after Sirpa Paatero resigned over the postal scandal, she’s back in government.

Sirpa paatero i röd rock framför den samlade pressen.
Ousted minister Sirpa Paatero is back in the new government as Minister of Local Government. Image: Lehtikuva

Social Democratic Party MP Sirpa Paatero told Yle that she was surprised to be offered the Minister of Local Government position in Finland's new coalition government on Sunday just before the Social Democratic party leadership convention.

"It was great that soon-to-be Prime Minister Sanna Marin (Centre Party) indicated she had confidence in me," she says.

Paatero went on sick leave about a week and a half ago after she handed in her resignation to then-Prime Minister Antti Rinne, who later also resigned following the postal scandal.

Paatero's departure came after she provided contradictory information about what she knew and when in relation to national mail carrier Posti’s plans to cut the pay of 700 workers.

At the time, Paatero said that the public and internal pressure made it impossible for her to continue in the post.

According to Rinne, Paatero had not followed her own guidelines on how Posti’s corporate governance should be handled.

And then Rinne resigned on December 3 after his Centre Party expressed a lack of confidence in him, partly spurred on by the Posti fallout.

Timeline not yet clear

On Monday morning Paatero told Yle that she was still recovering and couldn’t say exactly when she’d be back at work and needed to consult with her doctor.

Paatero pointed out that although she filed a written resignation a week ago Monday, it was not processed as the entire government effectively resigned on Tuesday following former PM Rinne’s resignation.

Paatero has been in municipal politics for 20 years and an MP for close to 14 years. During her entire political career she hasn’t experienced the kind of publicity storm that took place following the postal scandal.

"I must admit that although I have a lot of experience, this is not the type of experience I wanted," she said. "I hope that this teaches me and others to have stricter boundaries."

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