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Kidney operation behind parliamentary speaker's abrupt sick leave

One of Matti Vanhanen's kidneys was removed on Friday after a scan ahead of heart surgery discovered two tumours.

Matti Vanhanen
Matti Vanhenen served as Finland's prime minister from 2003 to 2010. Image: Karoliina Simoinen / Yle

Speaker of the Finnish Parliament Matti Vanhanen has announced on Facebook that one of his kidneys was removed in hospital on Friday and that the operation went well.

The former Centre Party chair and prime minister said a decision was made to remove the kidney after two tumours were discovered in it during a scan in preparation for his upcoming heart surgery.

The newly-appointed Speaker said already in April that he was scheduled for heart surgery in August.

He said he would probably return to work in about a month, as he has a speaking engagement planned at a Paasikivi Society seminar in the southern municipality of Anjalankoski, and he has committed to be a part of the Finnish PEN panel discussion during the annual SuomiAreena public debate forum in Pori.

The two deputy speakers of parliament will continue to stand in for Vanhanen during his absence.

News of Vanhanen's kidney surgery was first reported by the tabloid Iltalehti.

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