Finland's Prime Minister, Antti Rinne, resigns following postal strike

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By Euronews  with Reuters
Finland's Prime Minister, Antti Rinne, resigns following postal strike
Copyright  Lehtikuva/Mikko Stig via REUTERS

Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne has resigned after a member of his five-party coalition government stated it has lost confidence in the Social Democrat leader.

Centre Party chairwoman Katri Kulmuni said on Monday that her party had serious questions over Rinne's role in handling recent crippling strikes in Finland.

But Kulmuni said she wanted the same five-member coalition to continue in government under an a new prime minister.

Rinne's resignation was tendered to President Sauli Niinistö just before MPs launched a debate on Tuesday.

Niinisto told reporters assembled at the presidential residence that he had accepted the offer resignation but had asked the cabinet to continue as a caretaker government until a new one is formed.

Rinne's centre-left coalition took office less than six months ago when the Social Democratic Party narrowly won April's parliamentary election.

The Finnish government has been widely criticised for its handling of widespread national strikes which lasted for two weeks.

Industrial action from the country's state postal service, Posti, spread to the national airline, Finnair, and other industries before ending in November.

Although Finland held no formal vote of no-confidence in Antti Rinne, the government saw a sharp drop in support in the wake of the strikes.

REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo
Finnair was forced to cancel almost 300 flights last Monday during nationwide solidarity strikes.REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

The current Minister of Transportation and Communications, Sanna Marin, is the favourite to replace Rinne. Speaking to reporters at Helsinki airport, Marin said she wouldn't "dodge the responsibility".

If appointed, she would become the youngest prime minister in Finland's history, at 34 years old.

Meanwhile, Rinne's resignation comes at a difficult time for the European Union.

Finland currently holds the rotating presidency of the bloc until the end of the year, meaning the country holds a central role in establishing a new EU budget.