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Vehviläinen elected Finland's Speaker of Parliament

The long-serving Centre Party MP won the ballot with a convincing 167 of 200 votes.

Finland's new Speaker of Parliament Anu Vehviläinen (on left) with her predecessor Matti Vanhanen on Tuesday afternoon. Image: Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva

Finnish Parliamentarians elected Anu Vehviläinen as Speaker of Parliament on Tuesday afternoon by a resounding majority of 167 votes out of 200.

Vehviläinen was sworn in immediately after the vote in the plenary chamber to take the seat of the country's third-highest office. The 56-year-old Centre Party veteran replaced fellow party MP and former PM Matti Vanhanen, who was sworn in as finance minister earlier on Tuesday.

Following the vote, Vehviläinen thanked lawmakers for their confidence in her, saying she will do her best to be worthy of their trust.

"The coronavirus epidemic has held us in its grip and the situation is still not over. I hope we can make good decisions here, particularly for those who are suffering from the crisis," Vehviläinen told MPs.

Aiming for elevated discourse

The Speaker said she hoped MPs will respect each other during inevitable heated debates, and also give space to each others' views.

"Each representative has a responsibility to ensure that the culture of discussion in the hall is of high quality and valuable. My goal is to lead the discussions in such a way that everyone's voice is heard equally," Vehviläinen said.

From the city of Joensuu, Vehviläinen has served as minister twice during her career. She served in PM Juha Sipilä's administration as minister of local government and public reforms during 2015-2019, and early last summer briefly served as transport minister.

She most recently chaired Parliament's social affairs and health committee.

When the Centre proposed Vehviläinen for the Speaker post on Monday, the party cited her long work experience and good communication abilities.