Finland's first Somali-born MP officially sworn in

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Helsinki city councillor and Member of Parliament Suldaan Said Ahmed of the Left Alliance Party. Image: Mårten Lampén / Yle

Suldaan Said Ahmed (Left) has been officially sworn in as a Member of Parliament, becoming Finland's first Somali-background MP.

The Helsinki city councilor replaces party colleague and outgoing MP Paavo Arhinmäki (Left), who left Parliament to take up a role as Helsinki Deputy Mayor.

Said Ahmed told Yle News that he still "cannot quite believe" he is now an MP.
"If someone had told the refugee-background, single-mother raised, teenage Suldaan, that you would one day become a Finnish legislator, I would not have believed it," he said. "There were no people like me in Parliament when I was growing up."

He added that he intends to help "build a better Finland" during his time in Parliament.

"I want a Finland where every young person, regardless of their background or starting point, can pursue their dreams. I hope that my selection here will send a message to young people that anything is possible," he added.

Said Ahmed and two other incoming MPs — Atte Kaleva (NCP) and Jari Kinnunen (NCP) — were officially announced as Members of Parliament by parliamentary speaker Anu Vehviläinen (Cen) at a plenary session on Thursday afternoon.

Kaleva and Kinnunen are replacing party colleagues Anna-Kaisa Ikonen and Juhana Vartiainen, who became mayors of Tampere and Helsinki respectively.

Said Ahmed was born in Somalia in 1993 and moved to Finland in 2008. He was elected to Helsinki City Council at the municipal elections in 2017, garnering over 1,000 votes, and was re-elected to the council at the last municipal election in June, increasing his vote count to 1,634.

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