Finnish PM resigns after leak scandal

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The Independent Online

Three months after she became Finland's first female Prime Minister, Anneli Jaatteenmaki resigned yesterday amid accusations of lying to politicians - and the public - about the leak of sensitive political information during the election campaign.

Ms Jaatteenmaki, whose Centre Party beat the ruling Social Democrats in March elections, spent the day being questioned by politicians over allegations that she used information from leaked confidential Foreign Ministry documents to unseat the former prime minister Paavo Lipponen. She denied she had asked for the classified documents on Finland's Iraq policy.

But Martti Manninen, an aide to the President, Tarja Halonen, said Ms Jaatteenmaki had asked him for the papers, which she used in election debates with Mr Lipponen, accusing him of changing neutral Finland's foreign policy by giving American leaders the impression that Finland was part of an anti-Iraq war coalition.

A successor to Ms Jaatteenmaki was not immediately apparent.

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