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Tarja Halonen is the 11th President of the Republic of Finland and Finland's first female head of state. She acceded office on 1st of March 2000, and was re-elected in 2006.
Halonen was elected to the Parliament for the first time in 1979, and after that she was re-elected four times, until she assumed the office of the President of Finland. In the Parliament she served as Chair of the Social Affairs Committee in 1984-1987, Deputy-Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee in 1991-1995 and Chair of the Grand Committee in 1995.
Halonen has served in three cabinets and her appointments have been: Minister at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in 1987-1990, Minister of Justice in 1990-1991, and Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1995-2000. She was also Minister responsible for Nordic co-operation in 1989-91. During her time as Foreign Minister, Finland held for the first time the EU Presidency from July to December in 1999.
Tarja Halonen has paid close attention to issues of human rights, democracy and civil society. Issues concerning social justice and promotion of equality have been central themes throughout her political career.
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