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Aki Lindén named new Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services

The Social Democratic Party has picked Aki Lindén as the interim Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services.

Aki Lindén at the press conference. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

MP Aki Lindén (SDP) has been elected the new interim Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services. The Social Democratic Party council decided on Minister Krista Kiuru’s replacement at its meeting on Thursday afternoon.

At a press conference after his selection, Lindén noted that the parable of jumping onto a moving train seemed like an accurate description of replacing Kiuru.

The tasks of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health are currently managing Covid operations, the implementation of the social and healthcare (sote) reform following the regional elections, and numerous legislative projects, such as the proposal for a healthcare guarantee.

Kiuru also became known as an advocate of strict Covid restrictions in situations where other ministers supported less severe policies. Lindén, who replaces Kiuru, did not comment on whether he is also a supporter of a stricter line.

"I'm not going to position myself on an axis of tough to liberal. I'm somewhere in the middle. After all, it’s the situation that determines the action," he said.

In Lindén's assessment, the Covid situation is currently reaching a plateau and the current situation might allow for restrictions to be lifted.

"I am under the impression that restrictions can be lifted to some extent," Lindén said.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) said Lindén had been the clear choice to take over from Kiuru since she heard about the minister going on parental leave. Marin said that she wanted to allow Lindén to focus on the regional elections and only contacted him about the position this week.

Lindén, 69, is a first-term MP from Turku. He holds a doctorate in medicine and a master's degree in political science.

He has previously worked as the director of the Hospital District of Southwest Finland and as the CEO of the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa.

28.1: Corrected minister's title.