Greens name Atte Harjanne as chair of parliamentary group

Harjanne will replace Emma Kari as she takes her position as Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.

First-term MP Atte Harjanne will serve as acting party chair for the Green Party. Image: Mikko Ahmajärvi / Yle

First-term MP Atte Harjanne has been elected the new acting chair of the Greens group of MPs.

Harjanne’s victory was narrow, with voting proceeding to a second round. In the first round, Harjanne faced first-term MPs Saara Hyrkkö and Jenni Pitko, who currently act as vice-chairs for the group. In the second round Harjanne faced Pitko, who has been serving as the interim chair of the Greens parliamentary group, standing in for Emma Kari.

Harjanne is a 37-year-old engineer who previously worked as a researcher for the Finnish Meteorological Institute. He is also a member of the Helsinki City Council, to which he was first elected in the 2017 municipal elections.

Harjanne is more economically liberal and to the right of his fellow party members, which he sees as an advantage in everyday politics. In the press conference after his election, he speculated that his ability to reach across political divides made a difference in today’s vote.

"I am considered somewhat of a bridge-builder, a good collaborator and listener. I think it certainly had an impact, today. Not that the other two candidates lack those strengths," Harjanne said.

The reshuffle within the Green Party is due to Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo going on maternity leave.

First-term MP Iiris Suomela was previously named interim party chair, taking over from Ohisalo, but is not assuming her role as Interior Minister.

Current Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen will cover for Ohisalo as the Interior Minister, while Emma Kari will move to be Environment Minister, leaving open the role of chair of the parliamentary group. Ohisalo plans to take over the environment portfolio when she returns to work next year.