Tanja Karpela

Tanja Tellervo Karpela[1] (née Vienonen; previously Karpela and Saarela; born 22 August 1970) is a Finnish former politician. As a beauty queen, she was Miss Finland in 1991. She was a Member of Parliament from 1999 to 2011[1] and served in the government of Finland as Minister of Culture from 2003 to 2007.[2]

Tanja Karpela
Tanja Karpela 2009.jpg
Minister for Culture
In office
17 April 2003 – 19 April 2007
Prime MinisterAnneli Jäätteenmäki
Matti Vanhanen
Preceded byKaarina Dromberg
Succeeded byStefan Wallin
Member of Finnish Parliament
for Uusimaa
In office
24 March 1999 – 19 April 2011
Personal details
Born (1970-08-22) 22 August 1970 (age 51)
Salo, Finland
Political partyFinnish Centre
Totti Karpela

(m. 2006; div. 2008)

Janne Erjola
(m. 2009)

Life and careerEdit

Karpela was born in Salo.[2] As a beauty queen, she held the title of Miss Finland and represented her country in the Miss Universe pageant in 1991.[3] Prior to her political career, she also became famous for her work as an underwear and lingerie model.

Karpela was elected to parliament from the Electoral District of Uusimaa in 1999, representing the Centre Party.[1] She was appointed Minister of Culture in Prime Minister Anneli Jäätteenmäki's cabinet in 2003.[4] After the resignation of Jäätteenmäki, Karpela went on to serve in the same post under Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen.[2]

In December 2005 Karpela received a Big Brother Award from the Finnish on-line civil rights organization EFFI for proposing Internet traffic blocking software be installed in schools and libraries.[5] She was also a supporter of the 2005 amendment to the Finnish Copyright Act and Penal Code, which has been nicknamed Lex Karpela[6] due to her acceptance of what many perceive to be a highly controversial addition to the Finnish law. In March 2010, Karpela announced that she is no longer pursuing a parliamentary career following the 2011 parliamentary elections.

Personal lifeEdit

Karpela is a convicted drunk driver[7][8] and since entering politics, she has become most famous for her relationships – she has remarried twice and broken off a third, separate engagement. Karpela caused a stir in 2001 when it became public that she (a divorcée) was having a relationship with Finance Minister Sauli Niinistö (a widower).[3] Karpela's Centre Party was in opposition and Niinistö was considered the second-most influential man in government. Under close press scrutiny ever since, in 2003 Karpela and Niinistö announced their engagement.[3][9] They broke off their engagement in 2004.[3][10]

On 21 May 2006, Karpela married film director Olli Saarela,[1][2] and took her new husband's surname.[11] She filed for divorce from Olli Saarela in November 2007,[12] and on 22 February 2008 she changed her name back to Karpela.[13]

Karpela has two children (born 1995 and 1998) from her previous marriage to Totti Karpela and one (born 2009) from her third marriage to Janne Erjola.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Tanja Karpela". Kansanedustajat 1907– (in Finnish). The Finnish Parliament. 2013-09-07. Archived from the original on 2014-05-22. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
  2. ^ a b c d e She remains, however, most well known for her colourful personal life which has often hit the headlines in the media – a former underwear model, she is a convicted drink driver and is currently on her third marriage. "Minister of Culture Tanja Saarela". Vanhanen's Cabinet 2003–2007. Finnish Government. Archived from the original on 2007-12-15. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
  3. ^ a b c d "Kaikki Tanjan miehet: Huh, mitä suhdesoppaa!". MTV3 (in Finnish). 2008-07-15. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
  4. ^ "Kulttuuriministeri Tanja Karpela". Jäätteenmäen hallitus 2003 (in Finnish). Finnish Government. Retrieved 2008-09-02.[dead link]
  5. ^ "EFFIn Big Brother -palkinnot EU:n ministerineuvostolle, juorulehdille, Karpelalle" (Press release) (in Finnish). Electronic Frontier Finland - EFFI ry. 2005-12-07. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
  6. ^ "Säädöksille käytännössä vakiintuneita nimikkeitä". FINLEX database of Finnish legislation (in Finnish). Finnish Ministry of Justice / Edita Ltd. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
  7. ^ "MTVuutiset.fi".
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2009-12-07.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Finnish politicians reveal engagement". Nordic Business Report. 2003-11-27. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
  10. ^ "News in Brief: Sauli Niinistö for a Presidential Candidate" (PDF). Oulun Ylioppilaslehti. 6/2005: 6. 2005-04-15. Retrieved 2008-09-02.[dead link]
  11. ^ "Tanja Karpela avioon". MTV3 (in Finnish). 2006-05-21. Archived from the original on 2011-06-12. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
  12. ^ "Tanja Saarela hakee avioeroa". MTV3 (in Finnish). 2007-11-24. Archived from the original on 2011-06-12. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
  13. ^ "Tanja Saarela on taas Karpela". Iltalehti (in Finnish). 2008-02-26. Retrieved 2008-09-02.

External linksEdit