Kalevi Sorsa

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Kalevi Sorsa
Kalevi-Sorsa-1975 (cropped).jpg
34th Prime Minister of Finland[1]
In office
19 February 1982 – 30 April 1987
PresidentMauno Koivisto
DeputyAhti Pekkala (1982–1983)
Paavo Väyrynen (1983–1987)
Preceded byMauno Koivisto
Succeeded byHarri Holkeri
In office
15 May 1977 – 26 May 1979
PresidentUrho Kekkonen
DeputyJohannes Virolainen
Preceded byMartti Miettunen
Succeeded byMauno Koivisto
In office
4 September 1972 – 13 June 1975
PresidentUrho Kekkonen
DeputyAhti Karjalainen
Preceded byRafael Paasio
Succeeded byKeijo Liinamaa
Personal details
Born(1930-12-21)21 December 1930
Keuruu, Finland
Died16 January 2004(2004-01-16) (aged 73)
Helsinki, Finland
NationalityFinnish
Political partySocial Democratic Party

Taisto Kalevi Sorsa (21 December 1930 – 16 January 2004) was a Finnish politician. He was Prime Minister of Finland three times: 1972–1975, 1977–1979 and 1982–1987. At the time of his death he still held the record for most days of incumbency as prime minister.[2] He was also a long-time leader of the Social Democratic Party of Finland.

Early years[change | change source]

Kalevi Sorsa went to school in Jyväskylä and Lappeenranta.

At the age of 18 Sorsa's involvement with SDP politics started in Lappeenranta. In 1969, he was brought in from relative obscurity by Rafael Paasio, former Finnish prime minister, to assume the influential post of party secretary, despite not having much previous experience of national politics.

A 2008 book by historian Jukka Seppinen suggested that Sorsa was at this date already receiving support from Soviet backers in the KGB.[3] Prior to his political career, Sorsa worked in Paris for UNESCO from 1959 to 1965, and was Secretary-General of the Finnish UNESCO board from 1965 to 1969. In the late 1960s he also was an official in the Ministry of Education.

Prime Minister and Foreign Minister (1972-1989)[change | change source]

Sorsa and domestic politics[change | change source]

Sorsa was a leading political figure during the presidencies of Kekkonen and Koivisto.[4] He was the chairman of the Social Democratic Party from 1975 to 1987 and was Prime Minister of Finland in four cabinets for a total of ten years (1972–1975, 1977–1979, 1982–1983, 1983–1987). He remains Finland's longest-serving prime minister.

After his premiership he was the Speaker of the Finnish Parliament from 1989 to 1991. During his career he also served twice as Deputy Prime Minister, from 1975 to 1976 and from 1987 to 1989.[5] From 1987 to 1996, Sorsa served on the governing board of the Bank of Finland.[6][4]

Sorsa is regarded as one of Finland's most influential prime ministers, making major contributions to schools and health care, and increasing social security for families with children and pensioners. His governments strengthened the welfare state in Finland, by enacting many reforms—child care laws, longer maternity leave, the annual vacation benefit act, as well as the public health act.

In domestic politics, Sorsa had a particularly difficult relationship with Paavo Väyrynen, the strong-willed head of the Center Party. Another notable conflict was his rivalry with young rising politician Paavo Lipponen.

In June 1984, Sorsa gave a speech on "infocracy" (i.e. the power of the mass media) at the Social Democratic party convention. Infocracy challenges parliamentary democracy, is unintelligent and avoids discussing social problems, he said: it takes more interest in individual politicians than political issues and is never critical of its own actions.[7]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Governments in chronological order". Finnish government (Valtioneuvosto). Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  2. "Ministerikortisto". Valtioneuvosto. Archived from the original on 2009-05-03.
  3. Ilta Sanomat, 23 October 2008, "The KGB prepared the way for Kalevi Sorsa in 1969".
  4. 4.0 4.1 Matti Huuhtanen:Finns hold state funeral for longest serving, Cold War prime minister (paywall) Associated Press 31 January, 2004, via High Beam, retrieved 28 March, 2013
  5. "Edustajamatrikkeli". Eduskunta. Archived from the original on 2009-05-03.
  6. "Board Members in the history of the Bank of Finland". Bank of Finland.
  7. Kun Sorsa suuttui Ylelle Elävä arkisto. Yle. 19 October 2009. Retrieved 13 July 2017.

Other websites[change | change source]

Political offices
Preceded by
Rafael Paasio
Prime Minister of Finland
1972–1975
Succeeded by
Keijo Liinamaa
Preceded by
Martti Miettunen
Prime Minister of Finland
1977–1979
Succeeded by
Mauno Koivisto
Preceded by
Mauno Koivisto
Prime Minister of Finland
1982–1987
Succeeded by
Harri Holkeri
Preceded by
Matti Ahde
Speaker of the Parliament of Finland
1989–1991
Succeeded by
Esko Aho