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State funeral for former President Koivisto confirmed for Ascension Day

The Finnish government Wednesday confirmed that former President Koivisto, who died at the age of 93 on Friday, will receive a state funeral scheduled to take place in Helsinki on Ascension Day, Thursday the 25th of May.

Mauno koiviston muistopöytä.
Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

The Council of State recommends flying flags at half-staff on May 25 to honour former President Mauno Koivisto.

A meeting of the cabinet Wednesday named a committee, headed by Foreign Minister Timo Soini, to make arrangements for Koivisto's funeral. He served two terms as President of the Republic between 1982 and 1994.

The Lännen Media group reports that Koivisto is to be buried at Helsinki's Hietaniemi Cemetery at a site between the graves of President Urho Kekkonen and President Risto Ryti.

State funerals are provided only for individuals who have served as president, although under extraordinary circumstances, the cabinet can offer a state funeral to former long-serving prime ministers, chairpersons of parliament, and individuals of extraordinary merit, such as Nobel Prize winners.

The last state funeral in Finland was that of former prime minister Harri Holkeri in 2011.

A condolence book was opened at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki Tuesday in memory of Mauno Koivisto. The public can write their own condolences in the book up through this Friday between 10 AM and 3 PM each day. Access for the public is through the Mariankatu Steet entrance to the palace. A thousand people signed in person the first day.

There is also an online version at koivisto.presidentti.fi which was signed by 24,000 within the first 24 hours.

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