Finnish parliament elects Mari Kiviniemi Prime Minister
Helsinki: Finland's parliament on Tuesday
voted to make Mari Kiviniemi, 41, the Nordic country's second
woman prime minister following the resignation last week of
second-term premier Matti Vanhanen.
Kiviniemi, who was smiling and looked relaxed ahead of
the ballot, received 115 votes in favour of her appointment
while 56 of Finland's 200 parliamentarians voted against the
motion in a session that was webcast live.
Outgoing Centre Party premier Vanhanen was among the
first to congratulate her after the vote.
Although the election clears the way for Kiviniemi to
take over as head of Finland's four-party, centre-right
coalition government, President Tarja Halonen still needs to
give her formal blessing to the change.
Halonen is scheduled to officially dissolve
Vanhanen's government before appointing the new prime minister
and her cabinet at a ceremony at 5:00 pm (1400 GMT).
Women will then hold the two top posts in Finland for
only the second time in its history as Halonen continues her
second presidential term.
Considered a capable, knowledgeable and serious
politician, Kiviniemi will likely serve as prime minister
until the next parliamentary elections, scheduled for April
2011, and the Centre Party hopes her scandal-free image
will boost ratings and help it remain in power also beyond the