Ms. Halonen, a liberal candidate, is also a single mother. In the runoff election she
defeated former Prime Minister Esko Aho of the conservative Center Party 51.6
percent to 48.4 percent.
Minister of Foreign Affairs since April 13, 1995, the 56-year old Ms. Halonen has also
been a lawyer with the Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions. Prior to assuming this
post, she served as Social affairs secretary and general secretary of the National Union
of Finnish Trade Unions SAK. In 1974-75 she was the Prime Minister's
Parliamentary Secretary. Between 1977 and 1996, she was a member of
Helsinki's City Council.
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