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Home NATIONALLohela elected Speaker, Pekkarinen and Risikko deputies
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Sat, 30 May, 2015 12:01:37 AM
New Speaker keeps mum on immigration issue
Demonstration staged outside parliament during Speaker’s election
FTimes- STT-Xinhua Report, May 30

The parliament on Friday elected the Speaker and the two Deputy Speakers.

Maria Lohela, a 36-year old Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party) lawmaker from Turku was elected the Speaker. She got 127 votes in the 200-seat parliament.

Long term Suomen Keskusta (Centre Party) lawmaker Mauri Pekkarinen was elected the First Deputy Speaker with 145 votes while Kansallinen Kokoomus (National Coalition Party) lawmaker Paula Risikko with 135 votes was elected the Second Deputy Speaker.

The main opposition Suomen Sosialidemokraattinen Puolue (Social Democratic Party of Finland) announced in advance that it will boycott the process to elect the Speakers because of the opposition's lack of representation in the Speaker's Council.

Meanwhile, the newly elected Speaker Lohela on Friday did not comment on her current views on the question of immigration.

During the press conference after the election of the Speakers, Lohela did not answer, whether her views on immigration and Islam had changed.

In 2008, Lohela, among other things, said in her blog that she was afraid of Islam and concerned about the growth of the Muslim population in the country.

Lohela said she understood that all the things she said in the past are of huge interest at the moment.

The new Speaker said her thoughts were in her new job in which she was a hundred percent focused in.

"All the things I have done in 36 years are there in history. Now is the new time to write a new history," she said.

During the election of speaker, a few people in front of the parliament protested the election of Lohela as the new speaker because of her views on immigration.

The three Speakers reaffirmed their stance to remain unbiased.

"We are not here as Speakers for the government or the opposition rather for the whole parliament," Pekkarinen said.

News Agency Xinhua adds:  Lohela is one of the youngest speakers ever in Finland. She is a bachelor of arts majoring in English translation and interpretation.

Lohela has been an MP since 2011. After the general election held in April, she became Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the parliament.

Finland's first female Speaker is Riitta Uosukainen from the National Coalition Party, who chaired the parliament for 9 years from 1994 to 2003.

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