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Finnish PM resigns during EU presidency

Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne is expected to step down this afternoon amidst a worsening government crisis. Talking to journalists on Monday, the premier said he wants to avoid a situation where the government's programme, negotiated under his leadership, would not be implemented. Members of the ruling coalition have, however, withdrawn support for Rinne's party in recent months.

Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne has been forced to resign in the wake of the postal workers strike. He is expected to announce his resignation before the bi-party negotiations set to take place at 2:00 pm, according Finnish daily Iltalehti.

Governing coalition partners have withdrawn support from the ruling Social Democratic Party in recent months, and the Centre Party announced on Monday evening that they had lost confidence in the prime minister and his cabinet. Rinne became mired in controversy after claiming that he had been misled by the management of Finland's state postal service over the introduction of changes that would adversely affect employee's working conditions.

However, last week the president of the postal service refuted Rinne's comments, stating the government had been informed about their plans and tacitly approved the introduction of austerity measures, which sparked large-scale postal strikes.

Rinne appears to have lost not only the trust of his coalition partners, but also of his own party colleagues. The Finnish Social Democratic Party has decided to set up a committee of inquiry to scrutinise government measures, inviting members from former coalition partners to restore trust in the party.

The Finnish Social Democrats are expected to select a new prime ministerial candidate on 12 December, Iltalehti writes, commenting on the embarrassment for Finland's government and the entire political elite as the current cabinet looks unlikely to serve out the country's third six-month rotating EU presidency.

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