Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Harri Hermanni Holkeri (born January 6 1937 in Oripää) is a Finnish politician who was Prime Minister of Finland 1987-1991, speaker of the UN General Assembly 2000-2001 and headed UNMIK. Current head is Søren Jessen-Petersen .
Rising to the post of prime minister as the first Kokoomus-leader in 43 years, his term in office was not considered to be particularly distinguished. The slouching economic conditions didn't leave much room to maneuvre for his incumbency.
As a politician whose principles frequently overrode the calculations that might have made him a statesman of the highest calibre, Harri Holkeri is getting grudged recognition now that his career in domestic politics is over.
His natural straightforward honesty often pitted him against the media. Serving during an incipient economic slump, one facetious reporter asked him, what his advice was for those who had trouble making ends meet. He replied that, like him, they should eat herring, a frugal source of nutrients. This was taken as a sign of callousness, though it was meant as an indication how modestly he himself lived. In the parliamentary elections of 1991, the "Holkeri Herring" was used very successfully by the Centre Party of Finland. Their posters showed an image of a rotten herring.
Another time he was having a private moment at a street café, when a reporter stuck a microphone in his face, asking his opinion about the worsening unemployment situation, he expressed his pique at his privacy being invaded, by simply replying "I am drinking coffee now!"
It became a catchphrase for his whole incumbency.
After leaving domestic politics, his personal qualities have paved the way into international positions of responsibility in which unwavering integrity are assets. He chaired the United Nations General Assembly, 2000-2001.
He also played an extremely constructive, even perhaps vital role in securing the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland. Most observers agree that coming from a neutral country he was the man on the George J. Mitchell led team that both sides trusted most. His efforts were rewarded by a honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II.
On his return from Northern Ireland Harri Holkeri got some payback for all the flack the media had shot at him. After the agreement had been reached following a grueling round-the-clock negotiation push, Harri Holkeri had enjoyed a "good bit of crack" (Irish idiom for fun, not drugs). When his plane landed at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, the inebriated and jolly Holkeri was confronted by an reporter with a filming crew. When the television station decided to run the footage where he was visibly drunk, the public antipathy fell heavily on the broadcasting company. After the hard effort, most people thought he deserved to unwind. It was widely and deeply thought that his privacy had been grossly violated.
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