Finnish government resigns after healthcare reform fails

Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila resigned after the government's biggest project, the health and social care reform, collapsed in parliament just weeks before a general election.

The head of the prime minister's parliamentary group said the resignation offer is over failed health and social care reforms.

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. They resulted in the formation of a three-party government coalition between the "Finnish Centre", the National Coalition Party and the "True Finns".

Originally rolled out as a structural reform, the healthcare reform plan became part of a political package in late 2015 that also included local government reform.

Speaking at a press conference, Sipila said health care had been one of his government's main goals and that he was "hugely disappointed". "The snapshot of the situation that I got from the Parliament obliged me to examine if there was a possibility of continuing the reform process".

Earlier on Friday, Finland's public broadcaster Yle said the government was about to announce that it has dropped plans for major healthcare and social services reform, citing unnamed government sources.

The PM, a former businessman in the Information Technology field took power in May 2015 and had promised to resign if his government failed to implement the healthcare reform. "I am a man of principle and in politics you have to carry responsibility", Sipila told reporters, adding: "I am taking my share of responsibility".

This reform could have taken the annual growth of social and health care costs between 2019 and 2029 to 0.9% down from the current 2.4% which made the Opposition to launch an onslaught on the government over the failure.

Vanessa Coleman