Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) and Minister of Finance Annika Saarikko (Centre) attended a plenary session in the Parliament House on Wednesday, 7 December 2022. Marin on Wednesday said the Centre withdrawing its support for the nature conservation act shall be the last departure from a commonly agreed position. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)


PRIME MINISTER Sanna Marin (SDP) on Wednesday said the ruling coalition has had a serious discussion about the stunt pulled last week by the Centre.

“It isn’t right that someone breaks the government’s common rules and doesn’t defend proposals that the government has unanimously presented to the Parliament,” she was quoted saying by YLE on Wednesday. “I want this country to have a functioning government in the current composition, but breaking the rules repeatedly without any repercussions is untenable.”

The Centre on Wednesday sided with the opposition parties as lawmakers voted on different elements of the nature conservation act, ensuring the removal of sections on vulnerable habitats and water habitats.

Members of the Parliament will vote on the issue in its entirety on Monday.

Marin stated before the vote that the five ruling parties agreed that there would be no further breakaways from the government line.

“If we’re faced with the same situation once more – with a party failing to follow the government’s rules – then this government will cease to exist,” she declared. “You could use the words, ‘this was the last time’.”

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Maria Ohisalo (Greens) reiterated her disappointment with the actions of the Centre. The original proposal on vulnerable brooks, springs and water habitats, she highlighted, received more support from members of the National Coalition than the Centre.

“Pulling the rug from under four ruling parties is very serious. You can really only restore the trust through actions, by showing you want to be part of this,” she underlined.

Ohisalo said the Centre appears to be testing its limits and taking advantage of a global geopolitical situation that has raised the threshold for breaking up the government.

Minister of Finance Annika Saarikko (Centre) said the Centre Parliamentary Group is satisfied with what she described is an “improved” nature conservation act after the last-minute revisions imposed by the party.

“The nature conservation act is improving. The nature conservation act has been issued and the sections on property protection have been clarified,” she commented after the votes according to the public broadcasting company.

The Centre, she assured, is committed as a ruling party to supporting bills the government brings to the Parliament. “The Centre at the same time has the right to its own opinions and an obligation to bring them up.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT