Finland picks new prime minister Mari Kiviniemi

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Finland's new Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi, 22 June 2010
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Mari Kiviniemi is set to become Finland's second female prime minister

Finland's parliament has appointed Centre Party leader Mari Kiviniemi as the country's new prime minister.

The 41-year-old is set to replace Matti Vanhanen, also of the Centre Party, who resigned last week.

Once her nomination is approved by the president, Ms Kiviniemi will become Finland's second female prime minister.

Mr Vanhanen, who had been prime minister since 2003, announced in December that he would resign because of leg surgery.

The Centre Party's popularity has been dented by a funding scandal in 2009 that left it trailing behind its coalition partners in the opinion polls.

It is part of a four-party centre-right coalition that includes the National Coalition Party, the Greens and the Swedish People's Party.

Ms Kiviniemi replaced Mr Vanhanen as Centre Party leader earlier this month.

She has been in parliament for 15 years, serving recently as a minister for local government and public administration.

Parliament approved her appointment by 115 votes to 56, with 24 people absent or abstaining.