Maria Lohela (left), photographed alongside one of the co-founders of Now Movement, Harry Harkimo, announced yesterday she will leave the Blue Reform to join Now Movement. (Credit: Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva)

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MARIA Lohela, a former Speaker of the Parliament, on Monday announced she will leave the Blue Parliamentary Group to join the Now Movement Parliamentary Group.

Lohela added that she is not re-considering her decision not to run in either of the two elections scheduled for this spring: the elections to the Finnish Parliament on 14 April and the elections to the European Parliament on 23–26 May.

She also announced she will withdraw her support for the long-discussed social, health care and regional government reform, leaving the three ruling parties with the narrowest possible majority –of 100 of the 199 votes – if the reform is put up to a vote in the Finnish Parliament.

Susanna Koski and Elina Lepomäki of the National Coalition have previously announced their intention to vote against the reform bill.

“There’s one key issue still without a solution that’s by far the most important, and that’s the social and health care reform. It’s a reform that consists of the freedom of choice craved by the National Coalition and the county-based administration system cherished by the Centre. First the Finns Party and later the Blue Reform have done their part to not let the plan collapse,” she said in a news conference.

Lohela added that she is by no means convinced that the reform has been designed to benefit the general public but rather large market powers and administrative structures.

The Finnish government last week presented three new proposals related to the long-discussed reform last week, including one that was deemed to raise health care fees for heavy users of health care services.

“Are we here to complicate the position of people who already have it too hard? I asked myself what’s my responsibility as a Member of the Parliament. And I can’t support these kinds of things with a good conscience,” elaborated Lohela.

Movement Now, she added, was an attractive option because unlike traditional parties it is not led by a small group of members. The newly established group defines itself not as a political party but as a “non-affiliated political movement”.

“I felt the Blue Reform ended up drifting towards the role of a traditional political party,” she said.

Lohela has held a seat in the Finnish Parliament since 2011, first as a member of the Finns Party and later as one of the Blue Reform. She also served as the Speaker of the Parliament in 2015–2018.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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