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Centre Party proposes Anu Vehviläinen as Speaker of Parliament

From the city of Joensuu, Vehviläinen has served as minister twice during her career.

Anu Vehviläinen currently chairs Parliament's social affairs and health committee. Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

The Centre Party's parliamentary group has proposed Anu Vehviläinen as Finland's next Speaker of Parliament.

The 56-year-old Vehviläinen is an experienced MP who served under PM Juha Sipilä's administration as minister of local government and public reforms during 2015-2019, as well as briefly serving as transport minister early last summer. She currently chairs Parliament's social affairs and health committee.

"Anu Vehviläinen has a diverse background and is the right person in the right place during the difficult coronavirus crisis," the Centre's parliamentary group chair, Antti Kurvinen, told reporters after the group's meeting concluded on Monday evening.

Following heavy losses of 18 seats in last year's parliamentary elections, the Centre Party currently holds 31 seats in parliament.

If confirmed, Vehviläinen will join Social Democtratic Party chair and former PM Antti Rinne, who serves as first deputy speaker as well as second deputy speaker Juho Eerola of the Finns Party.

Vacancy following Vanhanen's finance ministry move

The post will need a replacement after outgoing parliamentary speaker Matti Vanhanen replaces Katri Kulmuni as finance minister.

Kulmuniresigned from her position as Minister of Finance on Friday but retained her post as chair of the Centre Party. She left the ministry's top job due to persistentquestions regarding the procurement of services from a communications consultancy firm.

MPs are scheduled to vote on the parliamentary speaker post on Tuesday.