Finland's government to resign after healthcare reform fails

Finnish government resigns after healthcare reform fails

According to the government, the reform could have curbed the annual growth of Finland's public social and healthcare expenses to 0.9% from the current estimate of 2.4% between 2019 and 2029.

"Prime Minister Juha Sipila has submitted the resignation of the government to President of the Republic Sauli Niinisto. today", Niinisto's office said in an announcement made just five weeks ahead of legislative elections scheduled for April 14.

Finland's President Sauli Niinisto accepted Sipila's resignation, though he will continue to serve in a caretaker role until the upcoming election next month produces a new government.

"I take the responsibility for the failure".

Under the plan, regional governments would take over the provision of care from local municipalities.

Juha Sipila has been the country's prime minister since 2015 after forming a three-party governing coalition with two other right-leaning parties, including the small populist Blue Reform Party, a group that was once part of the eurosceptic True Finns but split up amid divisions over immigration policies.

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Sipila was appointed prime minister by the Finnish parliament in May 2015 after his party won the general election.

The government will hold a news conference at 0845 GMT. He added that resigning had been "his personal decision".

The head of the opposition Social Democrats, Antti Rinne, told reporters outside parliament the government had turned itself into "a political sitting duck".

But a member of the parliamentary committee on health and social affairs, Veronica Rehn-Kivi of the liberal Swedish People's Party, called it a "victory" for the welfare state and individual citizens.

A programme of austerity cuts and tighter benefits rules during his administration has been unpopular in a country where the welfare state is a cherished national asset.

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