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Finnish PM Juha Sipila steps down over reforms pass failure.

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Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila tendered his centre-right government’s resignation on Friday after it failed to push a through a social and health care reform package, the president’s office announced.

“Prime Minister Juha Sipila has submitted the resignation of the government to President of the Republic Sauli Niinisto… today,” Niinisto’s office said in an announcement made just five weeks ahead of legislative elections scheduled for April 14.



“The president has accepted the government’s resignation and asked it to continue on a caretaker basis until a new government has been appointed.”

Sipila has since 2015 headed a coalition made up of his Centre Party, the conservative National Coalition, and Blue Reform, a moderate faction spun off from the far-right.

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Sipila, a former businessman who earned millions as an IT entrepreneur before becoming prime minister in 2015, has made health and social reform one of his top priorities in office, seeing a shake-up as necessary to cut the ballooning costs of treating a rapidly ageing population.

The proportion of over-65s in the Nordic country, which has a population of 5.4 million, is expected to reach 26 per cent by 2030.

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The reform has been a hard-wrought struggle over a decade and has divided successive governments.

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Tunisia: former President Ben Ali confirmed dead

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All time, former Tunisia’s President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali has died in exile aged 83, his family says.

Ben Ali led the country for 30years and was credited with delivering stability and some economic prosperity.

But he received widespread criticism for suppressing political freedoms and for widespread corruption.

In 2011, he was forced from office following mass street protests. This triggered a wave of similar uprisings across the Arab world.

At least half a dozen countries in the region saw their president fall or conflicts break out in the wake of the former Tunisian leader’s downfall, in what became known as the Arab Spring.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Gantz refuse’s Netanyahu offer on unity government

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After a vote tally showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tied with his main rival.

Israel’s weakened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saw his offer on Thursday for a coalition with his strongest political rival,  Gantz, swiftly rebuffed after failing to secure a governing majority in a tight election.

Netanyahu’s surprise move was an abrupt change of strategy for the right-wing leader. Its rejection could spell weeks of wrangling after Tuesday’s election, which followed an inconclusive national ballot in April.

Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party emerged from the second round of voting this year slightly ahead of Netanyahu’s Likud, but also short of enough supporters in the 120-member parliament for a ruling bloc.

Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, said in a video clip in which he urged Gantz, the country’s former military chief, to meet him “as soon as today”, that he had pledged during the election campaign to form a right-wing, Likud-led government.

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