Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) reiterated his confidence in the successful implementation of the social, health care and regional government reform in his weekly interview on YLE Radio Suomi on Sunday.
“I’m calm and collected. I haven’t lost any sleep because of this,” he stated to the public broadcasting company.
Sipilä admitted, however, that the inaugural county elections are unlikely to be organised on schedule in October, thus echoing the assessment of Minister of Finance Petteri Orpo (NCP). Orpo on Saturday told the public broadcasting company that he doubts the elections can be organised according to the original schedule following the statements of the Chancellor of Justice and the director of electoral administration at the Ministry of Justice.
The Office of the Chancellor of Justice stated last week that the elections can be organised no earlier than six months after the reform bill has been approved by the Finnish Parliament.
Both Orpo and Sipilä have recently underscored that the priority is currently to finalise and approve the draft bill, rather than organise the elections in October.
Sipilä on Sunday estimated that it may nevertheless be possible to organise the elections by year-end.
He assured that he is not concerned by what appears to be growing uneasiness toward the social, health care and regional government reform among the National Coalition, which according to Orpo is prepared to re-consider its support for the reform if its parliamentary group determines that the reform will fall short of its objectives.
Such reservations are shared by all three ruling parties, said Sipilä.
The massive reform has been the topic of considerable public debate over the past week after several experts and policy makers expressed their doubts about cost impact assessments published by the Ministry of Finance.
Sipilä addressed such concerns by pointing out that it remains impossible to offer detailed estimates of the cost savings generated by the reform because the savings will depend not so much on the decisions of the government but rather on how the reform is implemented at the level of the counties.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi