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Helsinki - Finding love on the internet, breaking up by text message, revelations of a former partner: the private life of Finland's prime minister has proved a goldmine for the country's tabloid press, drawing condemnation from the Finnish leader.
Media coverage of Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, whose government faces general elections on March 18, has prompted the usually reserved leader and former journalist to liken Finland's Iltalehti and Ilta-Sanomat tabloid newspapers to East Germany's secret police.
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This story has it all: work-related romance, a beauty queen turned government-employed paramour, and Internet dating habits of the rich and famous. Still, breaking up by text message (and in the land of Nokia, no less) is pretty lame. Chances are some of this blowback could have been avoided had Vanhanen broken the news over email rather than texting ‘it’s over’. Then again, we hear Britney’s looking, and she ends entire marriages via SMS.
So, a quick rundown: Vanhanen gets divorced, allegedly has an affair with Tanja Karpela (former Miss Finland and current culture minister), then the very busy PM met a mother of three over the Internet, dated mother of three for nine months, ended romance with mother of three via SMS, and has had to suppress passages of planned book by mother of three entitled The Prime Minister’s Girlfriend. On top of that, Vanhanen was named sexiest man in Finland in 2005 by a women’s magazine in Finland. By all accounts, he’s doing a good job as PM, so it would be a shame for this to (groan) Finnish his career. If thing's don't work out politically, he could parlay this into a few US talk show appearances.