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Meet Brother Christmas and other new Finnish MPs

The 83 new representatives joining Finland's Parliament include celebrities and others with familiar names.

Ari Koponen, eli Brother Christmas
Ari Koponen, now a Finns Party MP, is better known as "Brother Christmas". Image: Barbro Ahlstedt / Yle

Following Sunday's hard-fought election, Finland's 200-seat legislature will feature 83 new MPs – some of whom aren't so new after all.

Ari Koponen, who runs a charity service under the name "Brother Christmas," was elected on the nationalist Finns Party from the Uusimaa electoral district, which includes Helsinki's surrounding municipalities. In early April, Koponen was charged with violating fundraising laws.

Among the MPs chosen in the Savo-Karelia electoral district is Marko Kilpi of the conservative National Coalition Party (NCP), who is best known as the author of eight books, mostly crime fiction. He is also a Kuopio police officer who appeared in a popular police TV show and has made documentary films.

As seen on TV

Another well-known media figure, Pirkka-Pekka Petelius, was elected on the Greens ticket in Uusimaa. He has appeared in Yle comedy and nature programmes as well as dozens films – including one based on a Marko Kilpi novel – and as a voice actor in the Finnish version of The Lion King.

Another new Greens MP is the party's deputy chair, Maria Ohisalo, from Helsinki. She served as the party's acting chair after party leader Touko Aalto stepped due to health issues last autumn.

She's joined by the youngest member of the new legislature, fellow Green Iiris Suomela, 24, was ushered into parliament by voters in the Pirkanmaa district, which includes the city of Tampere. Pirkanmaa Greens voters also returned city councillor and government climate advisor Oras Tynkkynen to parliament, where he previously served from 2004 to 2015.

New Finns Party MPs include party secretary Riikka Slunga-Poutsalo from Uusimaa and the former chair of the party's youth wing, Sebastian Tynkkynen, from the Oulu district. The latter, a former reality TV show star, has made headlines due to a hate speech conviction and being expelled by his church due to his open bisexuality.

Like father, like daughter

Other MPs making comebacks include former transport minister Merja Kyllönen of the Left Alliance, who was sent back to parliament by Oulu region voters after a stint in the European Parliament.

Three former Social Democratic Party representatives return to the legislature after years off: Olympic silver medallist wrestler Marko Asell from Pirkanmaa, former justice minister Johannes Koskinen from the Häme district, and Uusimaa author and academic Kimmo Kiljunen, recently in the headlines as mastermind of the ill-fated Hamina Flag Park.

A new generation is literally stepping into the legislature, as Centre Party veteran Timo Kalli's daughter Eeva Kalli was elected from south-west Finland while former SDP finance minister Eero Heinäluoma's daughter Eveliina Heinäluoma won a seat from Helsinki. Another former minister, Ole Norrback of the Swedish People's Party, saw his son Anders Norrback elected by Vaasa voters. All three carry on their fathers' party lines.

Electoral districts are to certify their results by 6pm Tuesday. MPs are to present their credentials and form parliamentary groups on 23 April. The following day, MPs elect new speakers ahead of the formal opening of the four-year legislative term on 25 April.

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