Kalevi Sorsa

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Kalevi Sorsa

Taisto Kalevi Sorsa [ ˈtɑi̯stɔ ˈkɑlɛvi ˈsɔrsɑ ] (born December 21, 1930 in Keuruu ; † January 16, 2004 in Helsinki ) was Finnish Prime Minister for ten years between 1972 and 1987 and is considered one of the most important Finnish social democrats.


Sorsa was born in Keuruu , in the central Finnish countryside , his parents Kaarlo Oskari and Elsa Sofia, née Leinonen, but moved several times for professional reasons. So he went to school in Jyväskylä and Lappeenranta . In Lappeenranta, Sorsa began to be active in the Social Democratic Party of Finland (SDP) in 1948 .

Sorsa, who had a master's degree in social science, was a member of the Finnish parliament from 1970 to 1991. He is one of the most important politicians in the era of Presidents Urho Kekkonen and Mauno Koivisto . Sorsa was Secretary General (1969–1975) and Chairman of the SDP from 1975 to 1987, Speaker of Parliament from 1989 to 1991 and Finnish Prime Minister in four different governments for a total of ten years (1972–1975, 1977–1979, 1982–1983, 1983–1987) . In 1975/76 under Martti Miettunen of the Center Party and from 1987 to 1989 under the conservative Harri Holkeri , he was also Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister in personal union. As Foreign Minister, he had already served in the interim government under Rafael Paasio in 1972 for six months. Sorsa aspired to run in the 1994 presidential election. When the Social Democrats voted on the nomination of candidates, however, he was defeated by Martti Ahtisaari , who was still quite unknown at the time . The reason for the failure of Sorsa was the strong opposition within the party around politicians like Erkki Tuomioja , Lasse Lehtinen and Matti Ahde .

He is held in high esteem among Finnish Social Democrats, as he stands for numerous services to the welfare state, such as in the health care system, the school system, and for the social security of families and pensioners.

Before his political career, Sorsa worked for UNESCO in Paris from 1959 to 1965 and then as Secretary General of the Finnish UNESCO Committee until 1969. From 1967 to 1969 he worked in the Finnish Ministry of Education.

Since 1953 he was married to the interpreter Elli Irene Lääkäri. Kalevi Sorsa died at his home in Helsinki on 16 January 2004 of cancer .

Sorsa's governments

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