The Finnish Social Democrats elect a new leader

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Finnish Social Democrats have elected the party secretary Eero Heinäluoma as their leader at the party's annual Congress in the city of Jyväskylä.

Other contestants for the post were the foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja and the education minister Tuula Haatainen. He was elected with 201 of the 350 possible votes, while Tuomioja got 101 and Haatainen got 11 votes.

The election was required as the current leader, former prime minister and parliament speaker Paavo Lipponen has decided to leave after 12 years at the helm.

Lipponen has also voiced his support for the current strike by the Finnish Paperworker's union over pay. He said "You are in a truly difficult position. Moderation is your strength. We support you."