Center party continues to postpone parliamentary decision Sami

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The government met on Sunday evening for an emergency session on the law of the Sami parliament.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP), left, and Annika Saarikko (Cen), center, are divided over the proposed Sami parliament law. Image: Mikko Stig / Lehtikuva

The Center Party presented the Sami parliament law for the second time during an emergency session of the government on Sunday evening.

The bill was initially due to be submitted to parliament on Thursday after a government meeting, but it stalled amid concerns from the Center Party over the content of the legislation. During the hearing, the Center demanded that the bill be submitted.

Annika Saarikkothe chairman of the Center Party also said on Thursday that her party does not support the bill.

Center Party ministers were given two more days to study the proposed law.

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Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) said at the time it was ready to convene an extraordinary government meeting over the weekend.

Minister of justice Anna-Maja Henriksson (SPP) told Yle about the situation.

“Minister [of Defence] Antti Kaikkonen (Cen) asked for the papers and the case continued to be filed.”

Henriksson also tweeted about the matter immediately after the cabinet meeting. The session lasted only five minutes.

“A new Sami parliament law is needed to safeguard the rights of the Sami people. Today it has already been tabled for the second time by the Center Party in the session of the Council of State. I will work hard to pass the bill next week to Parliament,” Henriksson wrote on Twitter.

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Gap in governing parties

Despite the delay granted to the Center Party, the progress of the bill remains uncertain. Under parliamentary procedures, Center Party ministers can request that the bill be introduced, but only if they have not already done so. In addition to Kurvinen who blocked the bill on Sunday, the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Antti Kaikkonen (Cen), requested the action on Thursday.

The bill has led to a split between the parties in the governing coalition. Finance Minister and Center Party chairman Saarikko criticized Marin for bringing the divisive figure to the cabinet. However, Marin said he had discussed in advance with Saarikko that the law would be introduced in parliament, with the Center Party voting against in the cabinet.

On Yle’s current affairs program Ykkösaamu Saturday morning, opposition leader Petteri Orpo (NCP) noted the divisions between the parties in the governing coalition. However, he clarified that the coalition is unlikely to fall.

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Lot of several other accounts still open

Several other pending laws are also on the agenda of the current administration. In principle, these bills should be sent to parliament within a few days, so that the content can be debated before the end of this term. Parliament will take a recess at the beginning of March to prepare for the elections in April.

Some of the bills still under discussion in parliament are the Trans Act and a proposed capital gains tax.

Johanna Ojala-Niemelä (SPD), chairman of the parliament’s constitutional law committee, warned on Saturday that there may not be enough time for the committee to discuss the law of the Sami parliament, as the committee is already backed by problems.