The Finnish Parliament is set to allow grocery shops to sell beers and other beverages with a maximum alcohol content of 5.5 per cent, according to sources interviewed by Talouselämä and Uusi Suomi.
The sources estimate that the long-discussed proposal to de-regulate alcohol retail sales will be passed by a narrow margin of roughly half-a-dozen votes.
The vote will not be decided by the distribution of seats between the ruling and opposition parties, as the ruling parties agreed last summer to designate the issue as a matter of conscience. All but one of the nine parliamentary groups have both supporters and opponents of the de-regulation, the Christian Democrats being the only exception with all five of its representatives opposing the proposal.
The reform bill is currently being considered by the Parliament’s Social Affairs and Health Committee, which rejected the bill with three members voting for and 13 against in a test vote held last Wednesday.
The committee is expected to present its final report on the bill tomorrow, thus enabling the Parliament to discuss the issue on Thursday.
Juha Rehula (Centre), the Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services, predicted last week that the vote will be close and could go either way. Pekka Puska (Centre), in turn, viewed that although most representatives seem to currently support the proposal, they may yet re-consider their position after the plenary session on Thursday.
Talouselämä and Uusi Suomi obtained two independent projections of the upcoming vote.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi