Paavo Tapio Lipponen (b. April 23, 1941) is a Finnish politician. He was Prime Minister of Finland from 1995 to 2003, and Chairman of the Finnish Social Democratic Party from 1993 to 2005. He also served as Speaker of the Parliament of Finland 2003-2007.
Soon after returning to Finland he moved to Helsinki where he attained a master's degree in the study of international politics from the University of Helsinki in 1971. He was the editor of the student newspaper Ylioppilaslehti 1963–1965 and a freelance reporter for the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) 1965–1967.
He held various posts in the Social Democratic Party organization from 1967 to 1979, but he first came into the political limelight when he was secretary to the then Prime Minister Mauno Koivisto from 1979 to 1982. Frequently having to substitute for the busy PM, Lipponen was soon dubbed vara-Manu ("deputy Manu" — Manu being short for Mauno).
Lipponen was a Member of the Parliament of Finland from 1983–1987 and also from 1991 until he retired in 2007. Lipponen was elected chairman of the Finnish Social Democratic Party in 1993, and he led the party to victory in the parliamentary election of 1995. He also headed the campaigns in 1999 and 2003. Lipponen was succeeded as the party chairman by Eero Heinäluoma in 2005.
He is currently advising Nord Stream in regards to on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and permit application in Finland. He will provide independent consultations according to his expertise in Finnish administrative and decision-making procedures within the energy sector.
Paavo Lipponen is also well-known as an avid water polo player and supporter of the game.