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Speaker of Parliament: No health reform vote before summer break

Lawmakers won’t make a final decision on a regional government, health and social services reform until after the summer, says the Speaker of Parliament.

Paula Risikko
Paula Risikko moved from the Interior Ministry portfolio to pick up the Speaker's gavel in February. Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

Speaker of Parliament Paula Risikko said she does not believe that MPs will be able to vote on the massive ‘sote’ reform package before the legislature’s summer recess as planned. She spoke at the conservative National Coalition Party (NCP) congress in Turku on Saturday.

“It is absolutely certain that the votes will not take place before the summer break. That has dawned on everyone involved,” she told Yle.

At present, the Parliament’s last regular plenary session is scheduled for 29 June, with extra sessions pencilled in to be held “as needed” through 5 July.

Many moving parts

There are many moving parts and bodies involved in the hotly-debated ‘sote’ process, notes Risikko, a former NCP minister of social services and of the interior.

“Now the ministry will respond to the Social Affairs and Health Committee, taking into consideration the Constitutional Law Committee’s statement [of June 1]. The Social Affairs and Health Committee will then draw up a draft memorandum and send it to the Constitutional Law Committee,” she explained.

“The Constitutional Law Committee must then look at it and hear from experts. Then the Social Affairs and Health Committee will write a memorandum that will be sent to the whole Parliament, which will then vote on it. And then even if all that goes ahead, we still need an official presentation by the president,” said Risikko.

As a result, she said, the votes will happen in August or September. As a result, provincial elections linked to the reform, which are now set for late October, will likely be postponed. The reform has the keynote legislative project of the current government, whose term ends next spring.

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