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Greens name Iiris Suomela as interim party chair

Green Party leader and Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo will begin maternity leave in November.

At 27, Iiris Suomela is Finland's youngest MP. Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

The Green Party has named Pirkanmaa MP Iiris Suomela as interim party chair.

Deputy chair Suomela will take over the party's reins next month, when current leader and Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo goes on maternity leave.

"It is a great pleasure and honour," Suomela said after the announcement. "I came to this movement as a graduate student, specifically to find a place where we could work together against the climate crisis and on behalf of a strong welfare state."

Ohisalo was re-elected unopposed for another term as chair of the Greens at a party meeting in September.

At 27, Suomela is Finland's youngest MP. She is also deputy chair of the city council in south-central Tampere. She earned an international baccalaureate diploma in Wales and has studied sociology at the University of Tampere.

Interim interior minister to be named later

The other two candidates to take over as interim party chair were MPs Hanna Holopainen from the eastern city of Lappeenranta and Atte Harjanne of Helsinki.

Harjanne, who earned the most votes in the recent deputy chair election, was seen as unlikely to take over as interim party chair due to his geographic location. The interim chair's most important task will be to lead the Greens into the first-ever regional elections in January – which Helsinki will not participate in.

The party will name Ohisalo's replacement as interior minister later.

As all three deputy chairs are first-term MPs, pundits suggest the party may seek someone with more experience, including a possible reshuffle of its current three seats.

Besides the interior portfolio, Green MPs serve as Foreign Minister (Pekka Haavisto) and Minister of the Environment and Climate Change (Krista Mikkonen).

2.10: Updated with more details.