Finland - Leadership

As Lipponen's government was known as the "rainbow coalition," Jaatteenmaki's will be known as the "red earth" coalition, referring to its roots in the rural farming communities of Finland. Traditionally, farming families have been matriarchal so it is not surprising that a woman is the leader of the Center Party. Together, Jaatteenmaki and the current president Tarja Halonen will represent the only government in Europe to be headed by two women. Center Party officials have indicated that the 18-member cabinet will be assembled with eight seats each going to the Center Party and the Social Democrats, with the remaining two to be filled by members of the Swedish People's Party.

Jaatteenmaki's only experience inside government is her tenure as minister of justice in 1994–95. However, she has been a member of Parliament since 1987 and has held leadership positions in the Center Party; she has been the party's chair since 2002. As the new prime minister, Jaatteenmaki will have to address Finland's problems of growing unemployment and a struggling economy.

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