Finland's finance minister resigns over training row

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Finland's finance minister resigns over training row

Helsinki,(AFP/APP):Finnish Finance Minister Katri Kulmuni stepped down Friday after it emerged she spent 56,000 euros of taxpayers' money on public-speaking lessons.

                  Finnish media had on Tuesday revealed that the training sessions, between August last year and this March, were paid for with public money by the finance and business ministries, and not by Kulmuni's Centre Party, of which she is the head.

                  Kulmuni said she was not previously aware of the cost of the training but on Wednesday promised to pay the money back, before offering her resignation on Friday at a press conference in parliament.

                  "During my speaking training I practiced my party conference speech, which I should not have done," Kulmuni said.

                  "As a politician my duty is to carry responsibility and I have concluded that I will no longer continue as a member of the cabinet," she said.

                  Kulmuni said she would continue to serve as leader of the Centre Party.

                  The 32-year-old, who studied international relations at university in Lapland, garnered international attention last December as the youngest member of Finland's all-female coalition government in which four of the five party leaders were aged under 35.

                  Prime Minister Sanna Marin on Friday offered her support to Kulmuni for her "difficult decision" and said the Centre Party would remain in the coalition government.

                  No replacement has been appointed yet.