HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finland’s Centre Party on Monday nominated former Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen as its candidate for finance minister, following Katri Kulmuni’s resignation on Friday over her use of taxpayers’ money to pay for training in public speaking.
Kulmuni’s Centre Party is the second largest ally in Finland’s five-party coalition and Vanhanen’s nomination is expected to be approved this week by the rest of the government.
Vanhanen, Finland’s Prime Minister from 2003-10, has been Speaker of the parliament since last June when social democratic Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s centre-left government took office.
Vanhanen called the job “a project” and said he was taking it on with a “heavy heart” and out of a sense of duty amid the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
He said Finland should bear in mind that its economic recovery will depend on what happens in the rest of Europe and that Finland would profit by “billions of euros” if Germany managed to restart its economy rapidly.
Kulmuni said she would continue to lead the party but she is likely to face challengers at the party congress to be held in September.
(Reporting by Anne Kauranen; Editing by Toby Chopra and Ed Osmond)