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Mari Kiviniemi

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Mari Kiviniemi

Mari Kiviniemi
Prime Minister of Finland
In office
22 June 2010 – 22 June 2011
President Tarja Halonen
Preceded by Matti Vanhanen
Succeeded by Jyrki Katainen
Minister for Public Administration and Local Government
In office
19 April 2007 – 22 June 2010
Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Tapani Tölli
Minister for Foreign Trade and International Development
In office
3 September 2005 – 2 March 2006
Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen
Preceded by Paula Lehtomäki
Succeeded by Paula Lehtomäki
Personal details
Born (1968-09-27) 27 September 1968
Seinäjoki, Finland
Political party Centre Party
Spouse(s) Juha Louhivuori (1996–present)
Children 2
Alma mater University of Helsinki

Mari Johanna Kiviniemi (born 27 September 1968) is a Finnish politician, who served as the second female Prime Minister of Finland.[1]

She was appointed as one of the Deputy Secretary-Generals of the OECD on 25 August 2014.[2][3]

Life and career

Kiviniemi was born in Seinäjoki, Finland. She grew up in rural Southern Ostrobothnia, the daughter of a chicken farmer, and went to school in Jalasjärvi. As a teenager during high school, she spent a year as an exchange student in Germany. She enrolled in the University of Helsinki in 1988 to study economics. [4]

Kiviniemi is a career politician, and first ran as a candidate for Member of Parliament in 1991, garnering less than 5,000 votes, while serving as the Secretary General of the Centre Party Student Union.[5] The year after completing the work for her Master's degree in Social Sciences, she ran again in the 1995 general elections, this time winning a seat from the Southern Ostrobothnia district with 9,350 votes.

Kiviniemi is also a member of the Helsinki city council, in addition to her work in national politics. She has been on the city council since 2005.

Leader of Centre Party

Mari Kiviniemi (left) with the Russian Prime Minister (then President) Dmitry Medvedev and the then President of Finland Tarja Halonen (right).

In 2003, Kiviniemi was elected to a leadership position within the Centre Party, serving as vice-chairman (one of three) until June 2008, when she was voted off at that summer's party convention. She became a special advisor to Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen in 2004, and was twice appointed by him to serve as a Cabinet minister: first in September 2005 on a temporary basis when the incumbent went on maternity leave for six months; and then on a full-time basis in April 2007.

On 22 January 2010, one month after Prime Minister Vanhanen announced he would be stepping down as leader (chair) of the Centre Party at its June 2010 convention, Kiviniemi announced her candidacy for the vacancy. Her campaign was formally launched in April.[6]

Delegates to the Centre Party Convention met in Lahti to elect a new leader on 12 June 2010.[7] Kiviniemi won the second-round run-off, defeating Mauri Pekkarinen by a vote of 1,357 to 1,035.[8] Prime Minister Vanhanen met with President Tarja Halonen on Friday 18 June and asked her for permission to resign as Prime Minister. Kiviniemi's new post was approved by Parliament on 22 June 2010, with a vote of 115 in favour, 56 against and 29 MPs abstaining or absent.[9] Her election made her Finland's second female prime minister, after Anneli Jäätteenmäki in 2003.

2011 general election

The 2011 general election saw the rise of the True Finns party, who gained 35 seats at the expense of all but one of the other parliamentary parties. Kiviniemi's Centre Party was hit hardest, losing 16 of the 51 seats they had previously held and falling from being the largest party to the fourth largest. Kiviniemi initially declared that her party would not seek to be part of the next government, but later accepted an invitation by Jyrki Katainen to join coalition negotiations.[10] Those negotiations broke down, however, and after six other parties announced they had come to an agreement, she presented her government's resignation to the President and was officially succeeded by Katainen as Prime Minister on 22 June 2011.[11] The Centre Party went into opposition, with Kiviniemi continuing as its chairwoman.

Resignation as Chairperson

After new polls showed the Centre Party had made no gains against the governing parties, she decided to step down as chairperson and did not stand in the chairperson election in the summer of 2012. She was succeeded by Juha Sipilä as the party's chair.

Kiviniemi was quoted as saying to the media "In my opinion the Centre Party has done very good work in opposition, in both style and substance," said Kiviniemi. "I expected that this would be visible in a rise in support in the polls. But if that doesn’t happen, I should be able to draw conclusions."

The former prime minister was criticised heavily by party heavyweight Paavo Väyrynen. Kiviniemi said she believed that the party was strong, but could only succeed when the leadership enjoys absolute support. "The message from the field is that somebody should take responsibility for the defeat," said Kiviniemi. "Party work demands a lot from others, but most of all from myself. Although I am also of the opinion that the defeat was the result of many factors, in reality the final responsibility rests with the party chair." YLE News.

Personal life

Kiviniemi married Juha Mikael Louhivuori, a businessman, in 1996. They have two children, Hanna and Antti. In addition to her native Finnish, she speaks Swedish, German and English.[12]

She lists her hobbies as listening to classical music (she plays the piano and flute), running, skiing and in-line roller blading. The family has a summer cottage on lake Vanajavesi.


  1. ^ Skard, Torild (2014) "Finland's three national leaders" in Women of power - half a century of female presidents and prime ministers worldwide, Bristol: Policy Press ISBN 978-1-44731-578-0, pp. 407-14
  2. ^ "Mari Kiviniemi OECD:n apulaispääsihteeriksi - eduskuntaan tilalle Terhi Peltokorpi".  
  3. ^ [Mari Kiviniemi, Deputy Secretary-General, OECD]
  4. ^ "Mari Kiviniemi". (in Finnish). 13 June 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2010. 
  5. ^ "Mari Kiviniemi / Finnish Centre Party". Retrieved 23 June 2010. 
  6. ^ "Mauri Pekkarinen Enters Race for Centre Party Leadership".  
  7. ^ "Poll: Kiviniemi Most Popular Candidate for Centre Party Leadership".  
  8. ^ "Marie Kiviniemi Wins Center Chair, Taking Over as PM".  
  9. ^ Huuhtanen, Matti (22 June 2010). "Finnish lawmakers elect new prime minister".  
  10. ^ "Centre to join government negotiations".  
  11. ^ Staalesen, Atle (29 June 2011). "Finnish government hands in resignation". Barents Observer. Retrieved 8 September 2011. 
  12. ^ "Mari Kiviniemi". (in Finnish). 13 June 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2010. 

External links

  • Official website (Finnish)
Political offices
Preceded by
Paula Lehtomäki
Minister for Foreign Trade and International Development

Succeeded by
Paula Lehtomäki
New office Minister for Public Administration and Local Government
Succeeded by
Tapani Tölli
Preceded by
Matti Vanhanen
Prime Minister of Finland
Succeeded by
Jyrki Katainen
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