Soini on sick leave the rest of October suffering from severe skin infection

Symptom's of foreign minister's illness can include high fevers, shaking, chills, fatigue, headaches and vomiting

File picture of Timo Soini / Credit: Blue Reform

Foreign Minister Timo Soini (Blue) has been discharged from hospital, but he’ll be off sick for the rest of the month, diagnosed with a ‘severe erysipelas skin infection in his foot’, according to a statement from the ministry.

Soini will be off work until the 30th of October while he recovers from the infection which landed him in hospital.

The Foreign Ministry disclosed on Saturday that Soini had been admitted to hospital, but didn’t offer any other information at that time, except to say he was suffering from a ‘high grade fever’.

Dividing up foreign ministry work

While he’s under doctor’s orders, Soini’s work at the ministry will be divided up among colleagues, but primary responsibility falls to Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen.

“We’ll look at opportunities for appointments on a case-by-case basis. For example a meeting of EU foreign ministers next week, Soini will be represented by Secretary of State Samuli Virtanen” explain’s Riikka Taivassalo, the minister’s special adviser.

Illness explained

Erysipelas is an infection with a rash that might appear on the legs, toes, face, arms and fingers. The rash is usually red, swollen and painful.

Other symptoms can include high fevers, shaking, chills, fatigue, headaches and vomiting which will be worst in the first 48 hours of the illness.

Timo Soini’s difficult month

It has been a difficult few weeks for Soini.

The embattled foreign minister faced a vote of no-confidence in parliament in September, brought by opposition MPs following his attendance at an anti-abortion rally in Canada while on an official trip representing the government.

The rare no-confidence vote in a government minister – which Soini survived – came after the Chancellor of Justice published a report which said it was “problematic”, and advised that Soini shouldn’t take a public stance on abortion while on official business, even in his private time.

There is some uncertainty about Soini’s political future as well. The True Finns party he founded split acrimoniously last summer, and Soini’s new party Blue Reform is polling around 2% in the latest opinion polls.

Soini says he will announce his next steps around Christmas – but there has been speculation about whether he plans to run again in the next parliamentary elections, or seek a job as a member of the European Parliament, or take some other international appointment.