A man intent on stabbing the Finnish prime minister has been stopped by security guards, Finnish officials say.
Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen was campaigning for local elections in the southwestern city of Turku when a man attempted to stab him. Security guards managed to stop the attacker before he got to Katainen.
Although shocked, the prime minister continued with his round of greeting voters in preparation for next Sunday's Finnish election.
A Finnish spokesman, Kari Mokko, said that at this moment he had no further details on Katainen's attacker.
The Associated Press quotes Finnish newspaper photographer Robert Seger, who saw the incident and indicated that in his opinion the attacker was probably not trying to actually knife the prime minister. "He was trying to get Katainen's attention," Seger said.
The attacker was, according to Finnish news agency STT, behaving in "a confused manner" and was taken by police into custody.
Like many European countries, Finland has a coalition government. Katainen leads the National Coalition Party, a conservative party that got the most seats in the April 2011 elections.
Katainen formed a coalition government with six other parties, including the Social Democrats. He has been a parliamentarian since 1999 and leader of his party since 2004.
The Financial Times named Katainen as the best finance minister in Europe in November 2008. In 2009 he warned that Europe's leaders must do more to prepare voters for “exit strategies” that bring spiraling public sector debts back under control.
Katainen said, "It is always politically difficult but we simply have no choice. We will have to do very painful things in forthcoming years when the economy has started to recover."
He is married to Mervi Katainen, a female soccer player, and has two children.
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