Former PM Matti Vanhanen becomes new Speaker of Parliament

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File picture of Matti Vanhanen / Credit: Vanhanen 2018 presidential campaign website

Centre Party politician, former Prime Minister and former presidential candidate Matti Vanhanen has been elected as the new Speaker of Parliament.

In a closed ballot in the chamber Vanhanen got 141 votes while 39 MPs abstained.

“As Speaker, I will promote a culture of debate that will reduce misunderstanding” said 63-year old Vanhanen.

Another former presidential candidate Tuula Haatainen (SDP) becomes one of the Deputy Speakers, while Juho Eerola (Finns) becomes the other Deputy Speaker.

There was some controversy ahead of the voting about how to interpret the parliamentary tradition that an MP from the second largest party takes up the role of Speaker.

The Finns Party insisted that as the second largest party in parliament they should fill the role. However in this case the Centre Party are the second largest party in government and Vanhanen won the vote by a wide margin.

In August, Vanhanen will be going on sick leave for heart surgery.

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