, , Finland
|| November 04, 1955
Nov 13, 2017 05:54pm
|Info||Matti Taneli Vanhanen (born November 4, 1955, in Jyväskylä) is the current Prime Minister of Finland (as of July 2003) and chairman of the Centre Party. Vanhanen has a university education in political science, and is regarded as an expert on EU matters. |
He has worked as a journalist and was editor of Kehäsanomat 1985-1988 and editor-in-chief 1988-1991. He was the chairman of the Union of Centre Youth, the youth organisation of the Centre Party, 1980-1983. In 1991 he was elected a member of Finnish Parliament (Eduskunta). He was primarily interested in ecological issues. For instance, Vanhanen spoke against building a fifth nuclear power plant in Finland, at the same serving on the board of electricity corporation Fortum.
Another important topic for Vanhanen was Finland's foreign and security policy. As a specialist on the European Union he was a member of the European Union Constitutional Convention. There he criticized the president of the convention Giscard d'Estaing as authoritarian. Vanhanen has said  that he is unenthusiastic about European co-operation, and that he is an "EU pragmatist", so he may be considered an eurosceptic especially when compared to his EU-enthusiast predecessor Paavo Lipponen. In 2003 he became Minister of Defense in the cabinet of Prime Minister Anneli Jäätteenmäki, and quit from the Convent. After Jäätteenmäki's resignation, Vanhanen succeeded as Prime Minister.
Vanhanen has been characterised as uncharismatic and even boring, which has turned to his advantage in the tense political situation. The veteran politician Seppo Kääriäinen quipped that Vanhanen is the most honest man in the party.
Vanhanen is father to two children and says that his family and chopping wood are his two primary interests. Vanhanen is known for personal abstinence from alcohol, saying that he doesn't like the taste of alcohol . His father is the controversial professor Tatu Vanhanen, co-author of IQ and the Wealth of Nations.
The unexpectedly announced divorce of Matti Vanhanen and his wife, Merja Vanhanen, on 6 April 2005 might have political repercussions for this self-labeled family man.
As the Centre Party candidate, Vanhanen challenged president Tarja Halonen at the presidential elections of 2006, but did not qualify for the runoff. His support was 18.6 per cent, losing to Coalition's Sauli Niinistö with 24.1 per cent and Social Democrats' Tarja Halonen with 46.3 per cent. Personally, Vanhanen agrees to vote for Niinistö, but does not endorse him officially as the Chairman of the Centre Party.
In a 2006 book commissioned for the presidential elections, Se on Matti, Vanhanen compared the Finnish tabloid press to the KGB and Stasi, former East Bloc secret police agencies