Government, foreign minister, easily win no-confidence vote

The government and Pekka Haavisto won the vote 110 to 79 even though one opposition MP made a mistake in the way he was supposed to vote!

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File picture of columns at Parliament building in Helsinki / Credit: iStock

The government of Sanna Marin (SDP), and Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) have survived a vote of no-confidence in them 110 to 79.

The motion in parliament was tabled by opposition parties the National Coalition Party, Liike Nyt, Finns Party and the Christian Democrats over the government’s handling about what to do with around 10 Isis-linked Finnish women and their 30 children at the al-Hol refugee camp in Syria.

The government says it wants to repatriate the children to Finland as soon as possible, and leaves open the door to bringing back the mothers as well – although there is fierce political opposition to doing this.

The vote came after a late night discussion which lasted well into the early hours of the morning.

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto in his office, 27th August 2019 / Credit: News Now Finland

Pekka Haavisto off the hook for now 

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto in particular has come under intense media scrutiny and been the subject of repeated political attacks over his own role in the al-Hol debate.

Critics, including from within his ministry, say he has tried to force civil servants to make decisions which should be taken by politicians. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now calling for a police investigation into how internal documents were leaked to he media about the al-Hol situation.

In Wednesday morning’s parliament vote Hjallis Harkimo the only Movement Now (Liike Nyt) MP in the chamber accidentally voted in favour of the government, even though he had supported the no-confidence motion.

Harkimo’s mistake was recorded in the minutes of the plenary session.

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