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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 March, 2004, 11:00 GMT
Former Finnish PM goes on trial
Anneli Jaatteenmaki after her resignation
Jaatteenmaki is accused of lying over leaks of secret information
The trial of Finland's first female prime minister has begun in the capital, Helsinki.

Anneli Jaatteenmaki is charged with inciting a former presidential aide to leak official secrets, which she then allegedly used to win elections.

Ms Jaatteenmaki had accused former Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen of undermining Finnish neutrality by promising to support the Iraq war.

She denies having asked for the secret documents which backed up her claims.

She faces a maximum of two years in prison if convicted.

But some observers have suggested she will only receive a public reprimand.

Narrow victory

Ms Jaatteenmaki's Centre Party was running neck-and-neck in the polls with the governing Social Democrats in last March's general election campaign.

The Centre Party won by only 6,300 votes.

She went on to become prime minister, but had to resign after 63 days in office when allegations about the leaked dossiers emerged.

She said a presidential aide had faxed them to her.

"I never asked for these, and they came to me as a surprise," she said.

The aide denied the claim, saying he had phone records to prove she had indeed asked for the documents.

Closing arguments in the trial are scheduled for Friday. A verdict is expected within two weeks.


SEE ALSO:
Leak scandal sinks Finnish PM
18 Jun 03  |  Europe
Country profile: Finland
26 Sep 02  |  Country profiles


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