New mayors take office

Published on 25.11.2021

Helsinki residents voted in the 13 June municipal elections to install a new City Council for the 2021–2025 term. The first task of the 85-member council was to name a new mayor and four deputy mayors. The recently-elected mayoral team brings a new level of diversity and international experience to City Hall.

Juhana Vartiainen was selected as the city’s new mayor. Mayor Vartiainen grew up in Helsinki’s Kontula district. His family moved to Paris when he was young and after he returned to Finland, he studied at the University of Helsinki, with a stint at the London School of Economics.

After earning a PhD in economics, Mayor Vartiainen worked in Stockholm for many years as a researcher, eventually leading the Swedish National Center for Economic Research for seven years, before returning to direct Finland’s equivalent organisation. He served as a National Coalition Party MP in the Finnish Parliament from 2015 to 2021, but stepped down as a parliamentarian after being named Helsinki Mayor.

Paavo Arhinmäki was chosen as Deputy Mayor of Culture and Leisure. He is a former Minister of Culture and Sport, Left Alliance party chair, and MP since 2007. He has participated in municipal decision-making as a member of the Helsinki City Council since 2000. He grew up in Helsinki’s Pasila district and studied sociology at the University of Helsinki’s Swedish School of Social Science.

Anni Sinnemäki was chosen to continue as Helsinki’s Deputy Mayor of Urban Environment, a position she has held since the last municipal election in 2017. A life-long resident of Helsinki, Sinnemäki attended the Finnish-Russian School as a child and studied Russian literature at the University of Helsinki. In 1999, she was elected to the Finnish Parliament as a Greens Party representative. She has served as Minister of Labour and chair of her party for two years, and has been a Helsinki councillor for 15 years.

Nasima Razmyar is Helsinki’s new Deputy Mayor of Education for the current council term, moving to the position from her previous post as Deputy Mayor of Culture and Leisure. Razmyar’s family moved to Finland from Moscow in 1993, when she was a child. Her father had been the Afghan Ambassador to the Soviet Union and they left for Finland when the then-Afghan president was ousted from power. In 2010, Razmyar was voted Refugee Woman of the Year. She was elected to the Finnish Parliament as a Social Democratic Party candidate in 2015, and she has been a member of the Helsinki City Council since 2012.

And finally, Daniel Sazonov was selected to be Deputy Mayor of Social Services and Healthcare. Sazonov grew up in Helsinki and he is the former chair of his NCP party’s youth wing and the union of upper secondary students, and studied law at the University of Helsinki. He was elected a city councillor in 2017.

The Mayor recently published a new City Strategy to direct Helsinki’s decision-making for the next four years. One of the goals is to “make Helsinki a joyful, surprising and experientially rich city with an international feel”.

To read the entire Helsinki City Strategy in English, go to