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IGLA Member—a Woman—
Elected President of Finland

Compiled By GayToday

thalonen.jpg - 14.39 K Tarja Halonen Helsinki, Finland—With election results tabulated an announcement has been made that the Finnish people have chosen their first woman president.

Tarja Halonen, a Social Democrat, is also a former chairwoman of SETA (the Finnish National organization for Sexual Equality) and a member of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (IGLA).

The new president will take office on March 1st. Activists exulted: "Finland will have a president who can be said to have actively worked for the gay and lesbian rights!"

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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