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Page last updated at 11:05 GMT, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 12:05 UK

Finnish FM loses job over texts

Ilkka Kanerva (31/03/08)
Mr Kanerva's party said his credibility had been destroyed by the scandal

Finland has appointed a new foreign minister to replace Ilkka Kanerva, who was involved in a scandal over text messages sent to an erotic dancer.

Mr Kanerva sent 200 allegedly explicit messages to the dancer, and later made misleading statements about them.

The leader of his Conservative party said Mr Kanerva had lost the confidence and general respect that would allow him to stay in the job.

The new minister will be Alexander Stubb, aged 40, who is an MEP.

'Suggestive'

The scandal came to a head on Tuesday when a celebrity magazine, Hymy, published what it said were some of the texts - which were sexually suggestive in nature.

Mr Kanerva had initially denied sending the texts, but later admitted it.

He had also made headlines by sending similar text messages to various models during his time as deputy speaker of parliament.

Earlier on Tuesday, the leader of Mr Kanerva's party said the decision to replace him had been very difficult.

"Ilkka is my friend and he has done his job as foreign minister brilliantly," he said.

"In the light of these new developments it is evident that his ability to act as foreign minister has weakened considerably."

The new minister will formally be sworn in on Friday.




SEE ALSO
Country profile: Finland
24 Jan 08 |  Country profiles

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