Annikka Saarikko, 36, currently serving as Minister of Science and Culture, is the new chairperson of the Center Party (Keskusta).
With 1,175 votes (51.1%) in the first round, Saarikko prevailed at the party conference held this weekend in Oulu over her main rival and so far chair of the party Katri Kulmuni (773 votes, 34.1%), and the third candidate, Petri Honkonen (308 votes, 13.6%).
"Katri, my door is always open for you," Saarikko said told defeated Kulmuni from the Ouluhalli stage.
Later in a press conference - the first as the new leader of Keskusta - Saarikko announced that she intends to continue in the position of Minister of Science and Culture. At the same time, she said that she wants to form a new power duo within the Government together with the first minister, Sanna Marin (SDP).
In that sense, Saarikko said that her intention is to build bridges instead of seeking confrontation. She said she is "confident" that the cooperation with Marin will go well.