Greens pick temporary leader to cover sick leave

Maria Ohisalo, who is not a member of parliament, will take over as Vihreät leader for the time being.

File picture of Green Alliance politician Maria Ohisalo / Credit: Maria Ohisalo website

Finland’s Green Alliance political party has chosen Maria Ohisalo to be the temporary leader of the party while Touko Aalto is on sick leave.

The party also announced that some of Aalto’s responsibilities will be shared out among other members of parliament and party officials.

Aalto’s tough months

Aalto took a leave of absence from his job last week on doctor’s orders citing tiredness.

There is no indication how long his sick leave will last, but it comes after a troubled few months for the first-term MP for Central Finland.

While the Greens had been doing relatively well in opinion polls, their solid footing has become more unstable with Aalto as party leader; while his personal job approval ratings are noticeably lower than under the previous party leader Ville Niinistö.

In addition, Aalto was the subject of feverish tabloid reporting after being pictured in a Stockholm nightclub, shirtless, and apparently spanking another man’s backside.

Later, several newspaper editorials suggested he was the main problem in the Green’s slipping poll numbers.

Who is Maria Ohisalo?

The temporary Green Alliance leader Maria Ohisalo is deputy chairperson of the party, and also a poverty researcher with a PhD in sociology.

Ohisalo is a member of Helsinki City Council, and she run unsuccessfully in the last European Parliament elections.

The 32-year old is not currently a member of parliament but will be running for election on her party’s list next spring.