Finland History

Updated September 9, 2022 | Infoplease Staff
Finland Becomes First European Country to Have Female President and Prime Minister


Since 1998, Finland has been judged to be the world's least corrupt country, according to the annual survey by the Berlin-based organization Transparency International. In April 2003, Finland appointed its first female prime minister, making it the only country in Europe with both a female president and prime minister. But Prime Minister Jaatteenmaki resigned after only two months in office when it was revealed that she had used leaked classified information against her rival in the election (she was acquitted of the charges the following year). In June, Defense Minister Matti Vanhanen was selected by parliament to replace her. In Jan. 2006, President Halonen was reelected. Vanhanen's Centre Party narrowly won parliamentary elections in March 2007, and he was reelected to a second term.

In the second round of presidential elections in Feb. 2012, Sauli Niinisto, a center-right former finance minister, took 63% of the vote, against 37% for the Greens' Pekka Haavisto. Mr. Niinisto will be Finland's first conservative head of state in more than 60 years.

Jyrki Katainen, prime minister under President Niinisto, resigned in June 2014 in order to vie for a senior position in the EU. Alexander Stubb, 46, of the center-right National Coalition party, was sworn in on June 24.