Helsingin sanomat newspaper reported that the fate of the bill could be decided in the absence of two members of the Social Democratic Party’s deputy committee, Johannes Koskinen and Merja Mäkisalo-Ropponen. Tuula Väätäinen (SDP) was absent from the vote, but since both of his deputies could not attend the meeting, he was replaced Markus Lohithe representative of the second largest ruling parliamentary group, the Centre.
With the Greens, the Left Alliance, the Social Democrats and the People’s Party voting in favor of continuing the work, the vote could have ended exactly eight to eight. All the representatives of the Fundamental Finns and the Coalition, as well as two-thirds of the centre, voted in favor of suspending the work.
The center representative who voted against the bill came as a surprise to the Social Democrats, Koskinen told Helsingin Sanomat from Vienna, Austria, where he participated in the plenary session of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Johanna Ojala-Niemelä The chairman of the Constitutional Law Committee (SDP) said that the committee’s time ran out because it was “very important” to consider his bill.
“[The committee] concluded that it is not ready to issue a statement at this time,” he comment after the meeting according to YLE.
With the election period ending on Friday 3 March, the Constitution Committee should have finalized its opinion on the bill by 1pm on Friday 24 February.
prime minister Sanna Marin (SDP) expressed its regret on Friday about the fate of the bill and claimed in opposition that the committee should have had time to finalize its opinion. “The government presented the law to the parliament by the deadline. There should have been no obstacles to discussing the act, he wrote on Twitter.
Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson (SFP) meanwhile expressed its frustration at what it described as an “unheard of” decision not to issue a statement on the bill.
“The Sámi people would have finally deserved a new law for the Sámi assemblies. From the point of view of the Constitution, there were no problems with the bill. Why did you prevent the bill from being moved to the session hall?” he asked and addressed the question to the Centre, Perussuomallini and Kokoumus.
Heikki Vestman The Vice-Chairman of the Constitution Committee (NCP) shifted the blame to the ruling coalition for introducing the bill so late in the election period and without internal consensus on its content.
“The committee unanimously accepted the view that this proposal was received from the government too late because of its importance, so that the committee did not have time to consider it carefully. This proposal has been advanced according to what was possible for the committee, he said.
Marin decided to present the bill to lawmakers despite opposition from the center. Since the center opposed the bill, it would have required the support of the opposition parties – most likely the coalition – to pass the parliament.
The purpose of the reform is to promote the Sami people’s right to self-determination. However, the parties have had difficulty finding common ground, for example, in the voting and candidacy criteria for the Sámi assemblies. The previous two governments also tried to reform the law, without success.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: The Nordic Page