Matti Vanhanen (the Centre) is the new minister of finance after his party colleague suddenly decided to step down.

Matti Vanhanen became a member of the parliament in 1991. He served as the prime minister for seven years. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Matti Vanhanen, 64, is an old fox (or warrior) who has been involved in Finnish politics since the 1980s. He became a member of the parliament in 1991.

He rose to his position as the prime minister after midsummer in 2003. (During that time Vanhanen served as the defense minister.) He was chosen hurriedly without formal elections following the resignation of then Prime Minister Anneli Jäätteenmäki (the Centre).

Vanhanen served as the prime minister in two consecutive cabinets from 2003 through 2010. He is a tall guy, who wears horn-rimmed glasses and long coats. He has been profiled in the Finnish media as a regular father of two who lives in a detached house outside the capital region. He is a man who answers his wife on the phone during a meeting and a man who visits the gas station at midnight to buy sausage for his dog.

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