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Finnish PM tenders resignation after election loss

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 07:17
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Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb tendered his government's resignation on Tuesday after its election defeat earlier this month, the president's office said.

[HELSINKI] Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb tendered his government's resignation on Tuesday after its election defeat earlier this month, the president's office said.

President Sauli Niinisto "accepted Stubb's resignation and asked him to stay on in a caretaker role until a new prime minister has been named," a statement said.

Mr Niinisto then formally tasked prime minister-elect Juha Sipila, of the Centre Party, with building a new government.

Mr Sipila told reporters on Tuesday he hoped to announce his coalition partners next week, and have a government program and cabinet in place in about a month.

Mr Sipila has been holding informal talks with other party leaders to sound them out about forming a coalition, but is yet to indicate where his preferences lie.

He is known to want to keep his coalition as small as possible to avoid the kind of disagreements that paralysed Stubb's four-party left-right coalition.

However, Mr Sipila told parliament on Tuesday his coalition would consist of "at least three" parties.

The Centre Party emerged the biggest party in the April 19 general election, garnering 49 out of 200 seats in parliament, followed by the eurosceptic right-wing Finns Party which won 38 seats.

Mr Stubb's conservative National Coalition Party came in third with 37 seats.

Political observers have speculated that the three parties will form a coalition together.

Sipila, a 53-year-old self-made IT millionaire and relative newcomer to politics, said he had presented eight parties a list of 15 questions on various policy issues to help him to find the right coalition partners.

"The questions have been prepared with great care, and discussed with an open mind," Mr Sipila told reporters.

The main topics of the questionnaire deal with the economy, jobs, economic growth, structural reforms and EU policy.

Mr Sipila vowed during the election campaign to relaunch Finland's ailing economy with liberal reforms, after a year of stagnation in 2014 preceded by two years of recession.

AFP

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