Tarja Halons

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Tarja Halonen, 2011

Tarja Kaarina Halonen  [ ˈtɑrjɑ ˈhɑlɔnɛn ] (born December 24, 1943 in Helsinki , Finland ) is a Finnish politician. She was Finland's first female head of state since March 1, 2000 . In 2006 she was re-elected for a second term ending March 1, 2012. According to the Finnish constitution, since 1994 only two terms of office have been possible for the president. Please click to listen!Play


As the daughter of a nurse and a construction worker, she campaigned for social justice from an early age. After studying law, she joined the Social Democratic Party of Finland in 1971 and worked as a trade union lawyer . From 1977 to 1996 she was a member of the Helsinki City Council and from 1979 to 2000 in the Finnish Parliament.

Since 1987 she has headed various ministries in the Finnish government: until 1990 as Minister for Social Affairs and Health, from 1989 to 1991 as Minister for Scandinavian Cooperation, from 1990 to 1991 as Justice and from 1995 to 2000 as Foreign Minister. During the latter activity Finland joined the European Union and in the second half of 1999 Finland held the Council Presidency for the first time .

Since her student days, she has been very committed to gays and lesbians , including as chairwoman of the LGBT organization SETA. This commitment, as well as the fact that she was still living with her unmarried partner as the mother of a daughter, seemed to affect her chances in the popular election for the Finnish President in 2000, all the more so when she was with Esko Aho , Riitta Uosukainen and Elisabeth Rehn had weighty and popular competitors. She raised her daughter alone.

To everyone's surprise, however, the election campaign of the incumbent foreign minister - thanks in part to the successful Finnish EU presidency in 1999 - gained increasing support. In the first ballot on January 16, 2000, she was able to take the lead of the seven candidates with 40.0% of the votes ahead of Esko Aho (34.4%).

The runoff election against the conservative Aho, which became necessary on February 6, 2000, was narrowly won by 51.6%. Tarja Halonen's motto is: Never apologize for the power! . Halonen lived in her old working-class neighborhood until 2000 and only after her election as head of state did she marry her long-term partner, the lawyer Pentti Arajärvi.

At the same time as she took office on February 1, 2000, a constitutional amendment came into force in Finland , which limits the previously very extensive powers of the head of state to more representative tasks. As a result, Tarja Halonen was no longer able to emerge to the same extent as her predecessors Urho Kekkonen , Mauno Koivisto and Martti Ahtisaari in shaping domestic and foreign policy.

Tarja Halonen, who regularly enjoyed high ratings in opinion polls, announced on May 19, 2005 that she was running for a second term. In the first ballot on January 15, 2006, she received 46.3% of the vote and thus missed an absolute majority . In the finals on January 29, 2006, the red Tarja competed against Sauli Niinistö , who placed second , and won it with 51.8%, which was surprisingly close, given their popularity.

Awards (selection)

Web links

Commons : Tarja Halonen  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Bettina Flitner : Women with Visions - 48 European women. With texts by Alice Schwarzer . Knesebeck, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-89660-211-X , p. 114
  2. Tarja Halonen and gay rights , accessed November 17, 2016
  3. Bettina Flitner : Women with Visions - 48 European women. With texts by Alice Schwarzer . Knesebeck, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-89660-211-X , p. 114
  4. Tagesspiegel: The red Tarja before the second victory , article from January 13, 2006, accessed on November 17, 2016
  5. List of all decorations awarded by the Federal President for services to the Republic of Austria from 1952 (PDF file; 6.6 MB)
  6. Hedersdoktorer Humanistisk facultet Umeå universitet ( Memento from August 9, 2017 in the Internet Archive )