Vanhanen denies lying about how he met ex-girlfriend
"Bachelor minister" asked journalists for dating advice
During an interview session at the Helsinki Media Days on Friday, Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen (Centre) denied that he had lied about how he met his former girlfriend Susan Ruusunen. According to Vanhanen, he did not even tell an interviewer where the two had first met. The interviewer drew some conclusions, which turned into a "white lie".
"The claim that I would have lied is based on an interview in one newspaper. I was walking and I gave a one-sentence answer to a question that was put to me. When I gave the answer I do not feel that I took a stand on how I had met her, but the interpretation was put forward in the newspaper. It started a life of its own, and it gave birth to a white lie a year later", Vanhanen explained.
"I've managed to live with it", he added.
Vanhanen further says that "nonsense" has also been written about how he met the person that he is currently seeing. He would not clarify how the two met, because he sees it as a private matter.
"I've tried not to comment, no matter what the claim is. Completely erroneous assertions go through - as do real ones, at times."
A panel at the Media Days focused specifically on how the Prime Minister's private affairs are handled in public, and on the power of the media.
In Vanhanen's view, curiosity about people's private lives has grown considerably, as has "intrusive information gathering".
Vanhanen says that there have been attempts to get photographs of him during his summer holiday while he was sunbathing: a helicopter was used for the purpose. Once his house was watched from a car throughout the night to see "if anyone was spending the night".
Vanhanen also asked for advice on "how a bachelor prime minister like this should date, so that he gets it right".
"If you try to do it quietly, they ask why he doesn't do it openly. Then when you come out in public there's a big media furore about bringing something like this into the public."
Vanhanen did not get any practical advice on the matter.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Vanhanen annoyed by comparisons between Kanerva text message scandal and uproar over Ruusunen book case (7.4.2008)
Scrutiny of private lives of government ministers seen to reflect political change (3.4.2008)
Publisher and ex-girlfriend acquitted in privacy case - Vanhanen to appeal decision (6.3.2007)
Author and publisher point fingers at each other at trial over violation of PM´s privacy (18.2.2008)
Vanhanen-Kuronen court case begins (15.2.2008)