Prime Minister of Finland Antti Rinne resigned on Tuesday after losing the support of the coalition partner Centre Party, though the governing alliance is expected to stay in power to avoid a snap election.
A Social Democrat who has headed the centre-left five-party government since June, Rinne handed his resignation to President Sauli Niinisto, who asked the government to stay on in a caretaker capacity until a new government has been appointed, the presidency said.
“All of the governing parties have confidence in me, except the Centre Party. When I was told why they no longer have confidence in me, I made the decision to resign,” Rinne said.
The Centre Party was angered after the prime minister was accused of lying by the head of Finland Post, the culmination of a long-running dispute over reforms to the pay and conditions for some postal workers.
“All of the government parties are committed to the… government programme. If (me) being prime minister jeopardises the government programme, it is better that I steer clear of it,” Rinne told reporters.
The Social Democrats, Finland’s biggest party, will now appoint a successor to try to form a new government, which could take days or even weeks.
Sanna Marin, the party’s number two behind Rinne and the current minister of transport, has already said she would be willing to take over.
Political analyst Sini Korpinen said the coalition parties — the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Centre, Greens, Left Alliance and Swedish People’s Party — would in all likelihood agree to carry on together, as it was not in any of their interests to bring down the government.
That is especially true for the Centre Party, which “doesn’t want elections because they’d do worse” than last time.
“The most probable (scenario) is that they will carry on, with the same government programme” but possibly changing a few cabinet ministers, she told AFP.