Government survives first of two parliament votes this week

The first vote on Tuesday is about the government's policy programme, while the second vote on Tuesday is about the government's handling of the al-Hol situation.

File picture showing exterior of parliament with flowers, spring 2019 / Credit: News Now Finland

The new government of Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) has passed a vote of confidence in parliament, the first of two votes this week on the administration.

Marin’s government was sworn in just last Tuesday, and although they’re following the same policy programme as the previous administration of Antti Rinne (SDP), the programme had to be debated and voted on by MPs again.

Not surprisingly the five party coalition has the numbers to win such a vote, and easily passed today’s confidence vote 105 to 80, with 14 MPs absent from the chamber.

Speaking to parliament before the vote, Marin said the 2020 budget raised minimum pensions, increased funding for education, and restores the right of all children to full-time early childhood education.

She said that in a few weeks these funding decisions would be reflected in people’s daily lives.

Wednesday no-confidence motion 

On Wednesday Marin will face an interpellation – a no confidence vote – brought by opposition parties over the government’s handling of the al-Hol situation.

Around ten Isis-linked Finnish women and 30 children are at the Kurdish-held camp in Syria, and there’s been fierce ongoing political arguments in Finland about how to deal with them.

The government says it plans to repatriate the children as soon as possible, but this could prove politically and diplomatically tricky as there’s widespread political opposition to bringing the women back; while Kurdish authorities won’t permit children to be separated from their mothers.