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Finnish PM resigns over handling of postal strikes

FINNISH Prime Minister Antti Rinne stepped down today over his handling of a strike by postal workers.

Mr Rinne, who took office in June, has faced heavy criticism in the past several days over how he and a party colleague in charge of government companies dealt with Finland’s state-owned postal service Posti.

Posti workers went on strike for two weeks in November, which is rare in the country.

The walkout spread to the national airline Finnair and to other industries before the dispute was settled last week.

Mr Rinne handed in his letter of resignation to President Sauli Niinisto after relations between him and the Centre Party turned sour over the criticism.

Both the Centre Party and Mr Rinne’s Social Democrats are members of Finland’s ruling five-party coalition, along with the Greens, the Left Alliance and the Swedish People’s Party of Finland.

The Centre Party triggered his resignation after expressing a lack of confidence in the prime minister but did not hold a no-confidence vote as it wants the current coalition to remain in power, according to party chairwoman Katri Kulmuni.

With the Centre Party and its coalition allies trailing in the polls and at risk of losing ground to the nationalist Finns Party, it will try to avoid a new election.

The Finns Party came second in last April’s election, just behind the Social Democrats.

A frontrunner to take over from Mr Rinne is Transport Minister Sanna Marin, aged 34, who, if appointed, will become Finland’s youngest-ever head of government and only the third woman to hold the premiership.

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