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Paavo Lipponen

Paavo Tapio Lipponen (born April 23, 1941) leader of the Finnish Social Democratic Party was Finnish prime minister from 1995 to 2003.

Born in Turtola (subsequently renamed Pello), Paavo Lipponen spent his childhood and youth in Kuopio.

Receiving his gymnasium diploma from the Lyceum of Kuopio in 1959, he then studied philosophy and literature at Dartmouth College for one year.

Soon after returning to Finland he moved to Helsinki where he attained a degree in the study of international politics from the University of Helsinki in 1971

He held various posts in the Social Democratic Party organization, but he first came into the political limelight when he was appointed as secretary to the then prime minister Mauno Koivisto in 1979. Frequently having to substitute for the busy prime minister, he was soon dubbed: "varamanu" (ersatz manu ("Manu" being short for Mauno)).

He has been a member of parliament from 1983 to 1987, and again since 1991. Lipponen was elected as the leader of the Finnish Social Democratic Party in 1993, and he led the party to victories in the parliamentary elections of 1995 and 1999. Now Lipponen is speaker of Finnish parliament, after handing over the office of prime minister to Anneli Jäätteenmäki.