What comes next after Finnish PM's resignation?
Finland's social democratic Prime Minister Antti Rinne resigned on Tuesday after the Centre Party, which forms part of his coalition government, withdrew its support in a dispute over pay for postal service workers. Now the search for someone to replace him and take over the leadership of the coalition has begun. The media discuss what changes are to be expected.
Finns in for old wine in a new bottle
The prime minister's resignation won't make much of a difference, Äripäev is convinced:
“Finland could have a new prime minister by Christmas. But all in all little will change - the prime minister's party, message and programme will remain the same. Only the leader's face, rhetoric and perhaps gender will change. ... Both parties want to continue governing together. Both have such low approval ratings that neither wants early elections. If they were to be held, the far right candidates, who are currently leading the polls and at the top of their game, would emerge as the victors.”
A model for Sweden's Social Democrats
After Rinne's resignation Sweden's media are for the most part in awe. Rinne's social democratic counterpart in Stockholm should learn from him, Aftonbladet points out:
“Rinne is going in order to save his government. This is probably the most social democratic thing he could have done. Ever since it took office, Finland's government has tried to pursue a more expansive social policy than its conservative predecessors. ... Even if there are privatisation plans in the public sector, the ambition behind these plans is good. For this to be sustainable, the change of office must take place without side effects. ... The Finnish Social Democrats must deal more effectively with the trade unions and their representatives. This could also be a lesson for Stefan Löfven before the upcoming government negotiations on employment rules and protection.”
Can the coalition get its act together?
Kainuun Sanomat fears that this government crisis will leave deep scars:
“This episode will certainly not be forgotten so fast. Even though Rinne has assured us that the wounds will heal quickly, there is good reason to doubt this. ... It's not beneficial for future government cooperation if one governing party forces the minister of another party, not to mention the prime minister, to resign. The future government faces major challenges in the areas of employment, welfare structures and the fight against climate change. How do we find a common approach here, and how much time and energy will be spent on a trial of strength within the government?”
Back to work
It's time for the governing parties to return to their real task, Ilta-Sanomat stresses:
“Hasn't the time come to move on in politics? Amid all the excitement of the last few days, the fact that the government also has national affairs to deal with has been forgotten. The voters and taxpayers are entitled to good political leadership and decisions as well as social renewal for a change. We have watched the endless childish games of the politicians for long enough now.”
Media hot on the politicians' heels
Dagens Nyheter pokes fun at the trend towards ever-faster, ever closer-up reporting in Finnish journalism:
“The government crisis clearly shows how fast the news day has become in Finnish politics. The media can now predict consequences even before the parties have sat down at their crisis meetings. ... The scriptwriters are a collective of politicians and in-the-know journalists. On Sunday Helsingin Sanomat kept the suspense at a max when its reporter posted minute-by-minute ticker commentary from the street corner opposite the Social Democratic Party's headquarters where a meeting was taking place. The climax came when the light in the prime minister's office went out.”