Juha Sipilä steps down as Centre Party leader… in September

Although Sipilä himself got more than 16,000 votes in the election, his party had one of their worst performances ever.

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Then-Prime Minister Juha Sipilä speaking to reporters in Helsinki after announcing the resignation of his government on Friday 8th March 2019 / Credit: Lauri Heikkinen, Valtioneuvoston kanslia

Outgoing Prime Minister Juha Sipilä says he’ll step down from his role as the leader of the Centre Party – but only in September.

Writing on his website on Tuesday, Sipilä that he had asked for an extraordinary meeting of the party on 7th September to elect a new chairperson.

“The Centre Party experienced an historic high election defeat in Sunday’s parliamentary election” Sipilä says.

“They are painful moments for this 113-year old party. Now, as party chairman, I take responsibility for the latest phase of losses” he adds.

Sipilä had been widely expected to tender his resignation after the Centre Party slumped to fourth place in the election, lost 18 seats in parliament, and ended up with 13.8% of the votes.

He will stay as party chairman in the meantime over the summer, before the special meeting in September.

Centre Party goes into opposition

In a related move on Tuesday morning, the Centre Party announced it was heading into opposition.

“On the basis of the election results, voters have shown the Centre Party into opposition […] the responsibility for forming a government is now with the winners of the election” the party said in a statement online.