Juha Sipilä

Juha Petri Sipilä (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈjuhɑ ˈpetri ˈsipilæ]; born 25 April 1961) is a Finnish politician who served as Prime Minister of Finland from 2015 to 2019. A relative newcomer to politics, he has a successful background in business.[2] He was the leader of the Centre Party from 2012 to 2019. After leading the Centre party to victory in the 2015 general election, Sipilä formed a centre-right coalition and was appointed Prime Minister by the Finnish Parliament on 29 May 2015.[3] On 8 March 2019, Sipilä stated his intention to resign as Prime Minister, citing difficulties in reforming Finland's health care system. President Sauli Niinistö asked him to continue with a caretaker government until a new government coalition was appointed on 6 June 2019 and was ultimately succeeded by Antti Rinne.[4]

Juha Sipilä
Tallinn Digital Summit. Handshake Juha Sipilä (2017).jpg
Sipilä in 2017
44th Prime Minister of Finland
In office
29 May 2015 – 6 June 2019
PresidentSauli Niinistö
DeputyTimo Soini
Petteri Orpo
Preceded byAlexander Stubb
Succeeded byAntti Rinne
Speaker of the Parliament of Finland
In office
28 April 2015 – 29 May 2015
Preceded byEero Heinäluoma
Succeeded byMaria Lohela
Member of the Parliament of Finland
Assumed office
20 April 2011
Leader of the Centre Party
In office
9 June 2012 – 7 September 2019
Preceded byMari Kiviniemi
Succeeded byKatri Kulmuni
Personal details
Born (1961-04-25) 25 April 1961 (age 62)
Veteli, Central Ostrobothnia, Finland
Political partyCentre
SpouseMinna-Maaria Juntunen
Alma materUniversity of Oulu
Military service
Allegiance Finland
Branch/serviceFinnish Army
RankKapteeni kauluslaatta.svg Captain[1]
Sipilä in Vaasa, 2015

Education and military serviceEdit

Sipilä graduated from Puolanka lukio (Finland's university-preparatory high school), completing the matriculation examination with high marks in 1980.[5] In 1986 Sipilä earned his Master's degree in science (technology) from the University of Oulu.

Sipilä has the rank of captain in the reserves of the Finnish Defence Forces.[1]


Sipilä's career started at Lauri Kuokkanen Ltd., first as a thesis worker and later as a product development manager.[citation needed] Changing jobs, he became a partner and later CEO at Solitra Oy.[citation needed] In 1998, Sipilä started his own business, Fortel Invest Oy. In 2002–2005 he worked as the CEO of Elektrobit Oyj, then returned to his own business.[citation needed]

Sipilä was managing director of Solitra in 1992 and became the main owner in 1994. Sipilä sold Solitra to American ADC Telecommunications in 1996, becoming a multimillionaire from the proceeds. Business ADC Mersum Oy was resold to Remec in 2001.[6][7]

In 1996, Sipilä's income was the highest in Finland. According to Ilta-Sanomat he has been on the Board of Directors of 120 companies.[8]

Chempolis InvolvementEdit

Juha Sipilä was part-owner in the start-up company Chempolis. According to MOT Program (YLE) in 2012, Chempolis had received 10 million euros in public funds over 15 years along with extra funds from the Finnish Innovation Fund SITRA and Finnish state-owned financing company Finnvera. According to YLE TV News in 2017, the majority state-owned energy company Fortum saved Chempolis from bankruptcy by investing 6 million euros into the company in October 2016. Thereafter, children of Sipilä owned 5% of the company and Fortum 34%. Sipilä had been in control of the state owned companies including Fortum since the end of 2015. The Prime Ministers of Finland have not had the control of state companies previously.[9]

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä lobbied for Chempolis in India in 2016. Chempolis issued a press release on its joint venture with India's Numaligarh Refinery to build a biorefinery in North East India (Assam) for the production of bioethanol following meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Finland's Prime Minister Juha Sipilä on 12–14 February 2016.[10]


As a student, Sipilä worked for a short time in the Finnish Centre Youth, but otherwise he did not have experience in party politics before being elected to the Finnish Parliament in 2011 with 5,543 personal votes.[11][12]

In April 2012, Sipilä announced his candidacy for the chairman's position in the party congress of the summer. On June 9, 2012, the party congress elected him chairman. He beat Tuomo Puumala in the second round by 1251 to 872 delegate votes.[13] Sipilä led his party to victory in the 2015 election, where the Centre Party gained 14 seats compared to the previous election. With 30,758 personal votes he was the most popular candidate in the election.[14] Following the election, he was tasked with forming a government coalition; and as the leader of the Centre Party, he began formal negotiations with the Finns Party and the National Coalition Party and formed a three-party majority coalition.[15]

Sipilä's GovernmentEdit

Sipilä's government struggled with Finland's poor economic performance,[16] caused according to Paul Krugman and others by the constraints of its eurozone membership and aftershocks from the European debt crisis,[17][18] but also by the decline of the paper industry, the fall of Nokia and a diminution in exports to Russia.[19][20][21][22] Its attempts to address the problems through policies of spending cuts and reducing labour costs were controversial, particularly cuts to education spending that were seen as threatening Finland's successful public education system.[21][23] These austerity measures were partly been implemented due to European Commission pressure, which urged Finland to improve its adherence to the Stability and Growth Pact[24] and reform its labour market to improve competitiveness.[25] On 22 July 2015, Sipilä announced his government's commitment to reducing Finnish wage costs by 5% by 2019, an internal devaluation caused by Finland's loss of the ability to devalue its currency to boost competitiveness.[26]

There were protests against the government's austerity measures.[23][27]

In summer 2017, Finns Party split into two parties, namely Blue Reform and the current Finns Party. The Blue Reform members of the former Finns Party, including all ministers, remained in the government after the split.[28]

Following the term of Sipilä Cabinet, the Centre Party was the biggest loser of the 2019 parliamentary election, losing 18 seats and falling from largest party to fourth place. The party's support was lower than in any parliamentary election since 1917.[29] Due to the devastating defeat, Sipilä consequently announced that he would continue as the chairman only until Centre Party's next convention in September 2019.[30]

Talvivaara and Yleisradio scandalEdit

In 2016, Sipiläs close relatives were revealed to be part-owners of the bankrupt Talvivaara Mining Company, later renamed and re-organised into the company Terrafame, which had received considerable funds from the Finnish government.[31][32][33] A Parliamentary Ombudsman later decided that Sipilä didn't face a conflict of interest over mine deal.[34][35]

However, it was later revealed that Sipilä had contacted Yleisradio in order to instruct them on how to report on the Talvivaara and Terrafame incidents, leading to suspicion that YLE had been politically pressured.[36]

Personal lifeEdit


Sipilä grew up in the small town of Puolanka, northern Finland, north of Kajaani, the firstborn of four children to mother Pirkko and father Pentti Sipilä, an elementary school teacher.[5]

In 1981, Sipilä married Minna-Maaria Juntunen at Oulu Cathedral. They have five children.[5][37] Their youngest son, Tuomo (born in 1993), died on 18 February 2015.[38]

Wood Gas VentureEdit

Sipilä is known for his interest in wood gas electricity generation, which began as a hobby.[12] The cost to bring power to his summer cottage seemed too high, and he became interested in wood gas. First, he produced the electricity with wind power and with a diesel generator, but then he started building wood gas plants. He converted an old Chevrolet El Camino into "El Kamina" (Kamiina means "stove" in Finnish.) powered by wood gas, with electronic control systems.[39] This hobby was spun off into a company, Volter Oy, which produces wood gas power plants. A 10-house ecovillage in Kempele is powered by one such power plant.[40][41]

Religious affiliationEdit

The Sipiläs are members of Rauhan Sana (transl. "Word of Peace", affiliated in North America with ALCA), a small Laestadian revivalist denomination within the state Lutheran church of Finland. The Sipiläs first met at a Laestadian summer camp as teenagers.[37] Sipilä has stated he does not consider himself a legalistic Laestadian, and in interviews he has carefully distinguished his own Laestadian denomination from his home region's other, predominant, exclusive Laestadian group (Conservative Laestadianism).[42][43] The chairman of board in Juha Sipilä's religious community was his wife's brother in 2015.[44] According to Juha Sipilä, in 2012 he participated in the International Christian Chamber of Commerce ICCC.[45]

Air travelEdit

Juha Sipilä owned airplane Mooney Ovation 2 in 2018. Earlier he had a third share of a helicopter and other plane. In 2018 he promised to compensate all climate change gas emissions from his air travel by cultivating trees with his own hands.[46]

Electoral historyEdit

Parliamentary electionsEdit

Year Electoral district Votes Percentage Result
2011 Oulu 5,543 2.27% Elected
2015 Oulu 30,758 12.32% Elected
2019 Oulu 16,688 6.41% Elected

Municipal electionsEdit

Year Municipality Votes Percentage Result
2012 Kempele 755 11.69% Elected




  1. ^ a b "Keskustan Juha Sipilä ylennettiin kapteeniksi". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). 4 June 2012. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  2. ^ Kearney, Seamus (19 April 2015). "Opposition leader Juha Sipila wins elections in Finland". euronews. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  3. ^ "MPs vote Sipilä in as prime minister- result not unanimous". YLE News. 28 May 2015.
  4. ^ Schaart, Eline (8 March 2019). "Finland's government collapses over failed health care reform - PM Juha Sipilä resigns". Politico SPRL. Politico. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Mika Koskinen (March 31, 2015). "Näin Juha Sipilä on muuttunut – katso lukio-, hää- ja lapsuuskuvat". Iltasanomat. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  6. ^ Yritysuutiset8.1.2004[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Yrityskaupan hyväksyminen; Remec, Inc. / ADC Mersum Oy 26.10.2001
  8. ^ Vaatimaton miljonääri Ilta-Sanomat 12.6.2012 s.6-7
  9. ^ Valtionyhtiö Fortum pelasti konkurssikypsän teknologiayhtiön – omistajaohjauksesta vastaavan pääministeri Sipilän lapset yhtiön omistajina YLE 10.1.2017
  10. ^ ltalehti: PM lobbied for Finnish biotech in India – company partly owned by his children received 110 million euro deal YLE News 10.1.2017
  11. ^ Juha Sipilä Archived 2014-02-28 at the Wayback Machine accessed 9 June 2012
  12. ^ a b Miska Rantanen (2012). "PROFILE: Juha Sipilä". Helsingin Sanomat. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  13. ^ Uusivaara, Terhi. "Juha Sipilä appointed chairman of the center". yle. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  14. ^ "Valitut ehdokkaat Koko maa". Ministry of Justice. 22 April 2015. Archived from the original on 25 June 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  15. ^ "Kolmen ässän humppa – seuraa hallitusohjelmavääntöä Smolnassa hetki hetkeltä". Yle. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  16. ^ Walker, Andrew (2016-02-29). "Finland: The sick man of Europe?". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-11-06.
  17. ^ Paul Krugman (29 May 2015). "Northern Discomfort". The Conscience of a Liberal. New York Times.
  18. ^ Paul Krugman (1 June 2015). "The Finnish Disease". The Conscience of a Liberal. New York Times.
  19. ^ "In Finland, the euro is not the real problem". EUobserver. Retrieved 2016-11-06.
  20. ^ "Finland and asymmetric shocks | Bruegel". bruegel.org. Retrieved 2016-11-06.
  21. ^ a b Walker, Andrew (29 February 2016). "Finland: The sick man of Europe?". BBC News. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  22. ^ "Finland's economic winter". The Economist. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  23. ^ a b MacDougall, David (18 May 2016). "Down and Out in Helsinki". Politico. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  24. ^ Goulard, Hortense (9 March 2016). "Commission tells six EU countries to cut budget deficit". Politico. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  25. ^ "Council recommendation on the 2016 national reform programme of Finland and delivering a Council opinion on the 2016 stability programme of Finland" (PDF). European Commission. 18 May 2016. pp. 4–5. Retrieved 26 October 2016. (8) To restore Finland's competitiveness, the functioning of the labour market must be improved in several ways. On an aggregate level, wage increases have been moderate since the centrally agreed wage deal was agreed in late 2013. Under the agreement, the year-on-year increase in negotiated wages slowed from 1.3% in the last quarter of 2013 to 0.5 % in the fourth quarter of 2015. In June 2015, the social partners decided to extend the agreement into 2016. However, labour productivity growth has not yet recovered and therefore nominal unit labour costs are forecast to increase, albeit more slowly. Negotiations have been carried out to restore cost-competitiveness.
  26. ^ Hirst, Tomas (23 July 2015). "What's happening to Finland's economy?". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  27. ^ "Finland: Economic forecast summary (June 2016)". OECD. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  28. ^ "Hallitus on jatkamassa Uusi vaihtoehto -ryhmän kanssa – Ryhmän johtajat syyttivät Ylellä halla-aholaisia "kaappauksesta" ja sopimattomista käsitervehdyksistä". Helsingin Sanomat. 13 June 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  29. ^ Nalbantoglu, Minna (15 April 2019). "Näillä kuudella tavalla vaalitulos oli historiallinen". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  30. ^ "Juha Sipilä jättää puheenjohtajan tehtävät, ei halua tulla tänään median eteen – Katso, miten puoluesihteeri kommentoi Sipilän eroa" (in Finnish). Yle. 16 April 2019. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  31. ^ Antaisitko 150 euroa Talvivaaran kaivokselle? Tavallaan annoit jo 11.11.2016
  32. ^ Firm owned by PM's relatives gets half-million euro order from Terrafame 25.11.2016 YLE
  33. ^ Pääministerin sukulaisten omistamalla yrityksellä noin puolen miljoonan euron tilaus Terrafamesta 25.11.2016 YLE
  34. ^ Parliamentary Ombudsman to decide whether PM faced conflict of interest over mine deal 28.11.2016
  35. ^ "Oikeusasiamies: Pääministeri ei ollut esteellinen Terrafame-asiassa". Yle Uutiset.
  36. ^ "Mistä pääministerin ja Ylen välisessä jupakassa on kyse? Yhteenveto kohun keskeisistä vaiheista". www.hs.fi. Helsingin Sanomat. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  37. ^ a b Mika Koskinen (March 31, 2015). "Juha Sipilän suhde vaimoonsa alkoi 16-vuotiaana erikoisesta tarjouksesta". Iltasanomat. Archived from the original on December 18, 2015. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  38. ^ "Juha Sipilä steps back from election campaign after son dies". Yle. 19 February 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  39. ^ El Kamina – häkäpönttöauto. YouTube. 4 June 2010.
  40. ^ "Kempeleen ekokortteli". Volter. Archived from the original on 2015-07-21. Retrieved 2015-04-22.
  41. ^ "Kempeleen ekokortteli pyrkii energiaomavaraisuuteen". Yle Uutiset.
  42. ^ "Tällainen on Sipilän herätysliike – ei abortille ja eutanasialle". Ilta-Lehti. April 15, 2015. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  43. ^ "Sipilä linjasi suhdettaan lestadiolaisuuteen". Kaleva. May 30, 2012. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  44. ^ Tällainen on Sipilän herätysliike - ei abortille ja eutanasialle Iltalehti 15.4.2015
  45. ^ Sipilä linjasi suhdettaan lestadiolaisuuteen Kaleva 30.5.2012
  46. ^ Ohjaimissa Juha Sipilä Helsingin Sanomat Kuukausiliite 11/2018
  47. ^ "Information Service". vaalit.fi. Ministry of Justice of Finland. Retrieved 1 July 2017.

External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by Leader of the Centre Party
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Speaker of the Parliament of Finland
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Finland
Succeeded by