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The Governor, Finnish: Maaherra, or Swedish: Landshövding, of a province of Finland headed the activities of the State Provincial Office, Finnish: Lääninhallitus, or Swedish: Länsstyrelse until the end of 2009, when the provinces were abolished. The governors were appointed by the President. Many former ministers including but not limited to Kaarlo Hillilä, Martti Miettunen, Hannele Pokka and Anneli Taina served as governors, since the post was regarded as prestigious enough for a retiring minister, but still politically neutral. The title of maaherra was also considered a personal title, such that once appointed, the title maaherra remained for life.
During the Swedish period (1634–1809) and the Russian period (1809–1917) the governor was a royal plenipotentiary, representing the sovereign, but with independence, the function was reversed: the governor represented his territory to the central government.
- "New regional administration model abolishes provinces in 2010". Helsingin Sanomat International Edition. Sanoma Corporation. 31 December 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2010.