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Ex-President Mauno Koivisto dies at 93

Former President Mauno Koivisto has died at the age of 93. Koivisto was president from 1982 until 1994, leading the country through its application to join the European Union and the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Mauno Koivisto
Image: Juha-Pekka Inkinen / Yle

Mauno Koivisto has died at the age of 93. Koivisto took over as president in 1982 after Urho Kekkonen had held the office for 26 years. His two terms in office, ending in 1994, saw upheaval in Finland’s foreign and domestic policies with the collapse of the Soviet Union and Finland applying to join the European Union.

After Kekkonen’s authoritarian rule, Koivisto also helped strengthen the role of parliament to help balance the power of the president’s office.

In addition to serving as the ninth president of independent Finland, Koivisto also held the roles of Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Finland.

Born in Turku, Koivisto was awared the Order of the Cross of Liberty (2nd class) for his feats in the Continuation War. He then worked in Turku harbour and became active in Social Democratic politics.

He served as Prime Minister from 1968 until 1970 and again from 1979 until 1982.

On Friday tributes poured in, with current president Sauli Niinistö leading the way.

"Koivisto’s rise from a humble home to go to become a university lecturer, a banking executive and in the end a national political leader is a Finnish success story with few equals," said current president Sauli Niinistö.

Koivisto will be given a state funeral, but the date has not yet been announced.

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