The first round with 8 candidates ended, with no one gaining more than 50 % of the votes. So two candidates are heading for the runoff election second round: Sauli Niinistö and Pekka Haavisto. The advance voting will start on Wednesday and main election day is on February 5.
First round results: Sauli Niinistö (National Coalition party): 37 % Pekka Haavisto (Green League): 18,8 % Paavo Väyrynen (Centre Party): 17,5 % Timo Soini (True Finns): 9,4 % Paavo Lipponen (Soc. Dem. Party): 6,7 % Paavo Arhinmäki (Left Alliance): 5,5 % Eva Biaudet (Swedish People's Party): 2,7 % Sari Essayah (Christian Democrats): 2,5 %
Sauli Niinistö of the National Coalition Party is a former banker, finance minister, party leader and parliament speaker. He is pro-EU (though more critical than the prime minister on the EU debt crisis), mostly pro-NATO but has taken back words about that Finland should join it. He's financially right-wing.
Pekka Haavisto of the Green League is a former minister of environment, worked for United Nations for developing countries. He's pro-EU, talks a lot about human rights and equality. More left-wing than Niinistö. He's quite diplomatic and has support from voters from many different parties.
Haavisto of the Greens is also a homosexual and is in an union with an Ecuadorian man. For sure there are a lot people who wouldn't vote for a gay candidate, but there are a lot of those who seem to support Haavisto because he's gay to show that they're liberal and want to promote that kind of view.
My candidate didn't get through to second round so I don't care that much. I wouldn't vote either for Greens or National Coalition if it was parliamentary elections.
I'm glad Haavisto made it to the second round, and very surprised that Väyrynen got so close.
Väyrynen ran a truly amazing campaign to get this far, and I must admit that I respect his ability to do miracles. He is the old clown of Finnish politics, but despite this image he somehow managed to wake up his dying old party and unite it behind himself, despite first sinking as far as to drop out of parliament. Fortunately he wouldn't have a snowball's chance in hell in the second round, so there was never a significant risk of him ending up as the president of the republic, which certainly would have been a most interesting spectacle.
Now that Paavo Lipponen is out of the race, Haavisto is the most qualified candidate to lead our foreign politics, and hadn't I believed that Lipponen was the best choice to hammer through our national interests in the European Union and elsewhere I would certainly have voted for Haavisto already in the first round. Lipponen is also a person who doesn't fear to take flak for what he believes in, and although I don't always agree with him, he would have been the sort of immovable object we need to oppose extremism in these times, but I presume his age and grumpiness scared away the voters since the first round as usual was all about personality, rather than competence.
I do not really understand what people see in the lawyer and banker Sauli Niinistö, he tries to cater to everyone by hiding his views, but doesn't actually say anything relevant to the presidency. Sure, he was a good minister of finance, and I have no doubts that he could lobby for Finnish corporations, but he doesn't seem to have the will or even competence to lead the foreign politics of the country.
I've long wondered why Pekka Haavisto hasn't made a political comeback, he was the first green environment minister in Europe and certainly is the right man to be our first green president, and I'm definitely glad he now agreed to be a candidate. Hopefully the time is right for our first gay president, it certainly would be a blow against the wave of intolerance that swept through the parliamentary elections.
I was very surprised to watch influential people from other parties show lightly veiled support for Haavisto when the results were clear, the most surprising of which was definitely current prime minister and leader of Niinistö's party, the National Coalition, Jyrki Katainen. I wonder if he was wasted or just doesn't want to play second fiddle to a much more popular Niinistö? :lulz: Former prime minister Matti Vanhanen, from the Centre Party, pointed out that from his experience of working with the current president it is important to have someone who is competent and willing to lead the foreign policy of Finland, and wished that people would allow competence to go before celebrity status, thus implying that he prefers Haavisto.
Who is more likely to win? Right now, Niinistö, but I think Haavisto is the right man to challenge him. He'll have to somehow get the answers voters don't want to hear out of Niinistö, a tough task our dear Väyrynen would have been perfect for, or get the media to concentrate on issues the president actually can work with, but last time the amazingly lazy Tarja Halonen beat Niinistö, so anything can happen.
I'm not much informed on politics outside the US so I can't really stand here and defend one candidate or another. Ideologically I'd say the Green candidate would be closer to my views, but still not a close fit.
What kind of issues are 'hot' topics the elections have been focusing over? What has been their positions- in between the first two posts I think I get an idea, but I would like a info breakdown between the two.
Commissar MercZ;5603914 What kind of issues are 'hot' topics the elections have been focusing over? What has been their positions- in between the first two posts I think I get an idea, but I would like a info breakdown between the two.
That's a bit of a problem between the two second round candidates. Hot topics earlier were EU debt crisis, with 3 candidates being critical on EU and rest supporting the bailouts. Those three candidates were eliminated in the first round. None of the candidates supported Finland joining the NATO now, but those two 2nd round candidates are the two most pro NATO.
There also were debates about hate speech, about whether the president would talk with Russian leaders about their state of democracy and similar. But you can guess no one stood out that much.
They don't have much to argue about. That's why I would have preferred an eurosceptic on the second round.
The green candidate will get most left votes now based on the left-right political scale. But he's not exactly a leftist like the Social Democrats or the Left Alliance. National Coalition candidate is not exactly a social conservative, but the party can be called conservative. Usually people with higher income vote for it and it's associated with companies.
- Green liberal, not part of the green left wing though
- Focuses on human rights issues, is gay himself
- Still, is pretty centrist for a green, doesn't condemn all American war actions for example as many greens do
- Has experience and potential for peace talks and similar
- More conservative
- Perceived as more patriotic, as for example supports the military perhaps more
- Favours industry business more than trade unions
- Has experience and potential for finance related foreign relations development
The fact is, these two candidates don't have that many differences. :thumbsdown: It's more about values than any big differences in foreign policy, and their party background.
Yeah, right now it's hard to find any major disagreements between these two candidates, partly because the debate during the first round was very lame and largely between the intolerant, nationalistic, anti-EU-side and the more tolerant and international side, and partly because both Niinistö and Haavisto have tried to avoid saying anything that might scare a potential voter away.
Haavisto will have to find those differences and convince the public of them, or the second round is a going to be a very boring and easy walk-through for Niinistö. Even though Haavisto has much better chances than Väyrynen, Paavo certainly would have made for a more interesting debate and might have been able to force the ubiquitous Niinistö to explain his views, something that is going to be very tough for the so far diplomatic and dispassionate Haavisto.
Two more then I'll leave you two alone. What was the turn-out for the first round?
And since I'm not sure, and would like an explanation outside of google and wikipedia, what are the powers of the President of Finland compared to the Prime Minister? I get the idea it's similar to what the President of France holds, where it has more power than the prime minister and is the more important figure in the executive.
The debate has so far been rather awful, supporters of Niinistö vocally express concern over the fact that Haavisto chose civilian service over military service, whilst Niinistö is an army captain in the reserve. This supposedly means that Haavisto is incompetent to be the commander-in-chief of the defense forces, although in our wars so far the president has always put the commander of the defense forces in command of the military, and there is no reason the next president should not do exactly that if such a situation came up, especially as a captain of the reserve is almost as incompetent for the job as any random guy. A majority of our previous presidents did not do Finnish military service, so Haavisto would only follow tradition in this respect.
Personally I'd much rather see an experienced negotiator (Haavisto) as commander-in-chief, rather than a man with known anger issues (Niinistö). Former president Martti Ahtisaari supported Haavisto's campaign already in round one, and he certainly should have seen enough conflict to know what to look for in his candidate.
Another key theme in the debate has been the spouse of the president, and if a young hairdresser husband with a DUI is suitable for the role. Niinistö's attractive and conservative party-spokeswoman is seemingly perfect for the role and extremely popular, but also a creepy 30 years younger than Niinistö. The entire spouse issue is hopefully something only pushed by the people who can't accept a gay president, but even though we have had single presidents before, it is a touchy subject and something as insignificant as a DUI could scare some voters away in a race where the gap is closing every minute, and sadly in a boring debate the end result could be up to silly things like this.
Haavisto's campaign seems to do fine despite the lack of money and a big well-oiled party machine, Niinistö may have over a million corporate euros to spend and thousands upon thousands of party workers, but Haavisto has a lot of grassroots support and leads the social media war by far. So far he hasn't received much backing from the unions, which all hate Niinistö as an old-school capitalist who has wet dreams of gassing strikers, but don't see the fairly conservative Haavisto as left-wing enough. Haavisto has a lot of weird tricks up his sleeve though, they even resurrected a popular pop-band from the 90s to help him raise money for his campaign in the second round. :lulz:
Commissar MercZ;5604606Two more then I'll leave you two alone. What was the turn-out for the first round? [/QUOTE] 72,8 %.
[QUOTE=Commissar MercZ;5604606]And since I'm not sure, and would like an explanation outside of google and wikipedia, what are the powers of the President of Finland compared to the Prime Minister? I get the idea it's similar to what the President of France holds, where it has more power than the prime minister and is the more important figure in the executive.
Well, I must admit that I do not know exactly what powers the next president has. The president of the republic used to be comparable to the US and French presidents, but the decline started when president Mauno Koivisto thought he had too much power after the end of the long reign of president Urho Kekkonen, who bounced governments around as he wished and abused the USSR to keep his support high. Tarja Halonen barely used any of her powers, except to violently push through a 300 000 000 € ban on Finnish landmines (all of which were neatly stored), and thus the powers of the next president has been lowered further by the governments that stand to gain from such a power shift, in fact so far, that Mauno Koivisto recently expressed regret over his decision to once diminish the powers of the president and thus starting the transition to a very powerful prime minister (only to apparently change his mind when the conservative Niinistö overwhelmingly won the first round, probably because Niinistö used to be known as an aggressive hardliner that would not hesitate to push his powers to the limit).
As far as I know the new president will still be the commander-in-chief of the defense forces, and will remain in charge of the foreign policy of Finland in cooperation with the government, but will otherwise have a mostly symbolic status. Currently the prime minister already has somewhat more power than Halonen, but this new power structure will be tipped further towards the prime minister.
Among the first round presidential candidates Paavo Lipponen (Social Democrats), Paavo Arhinmäki (leader of the Left Alliance) and Eva Biaudet (Swedish People's Party) have now voiced their support for Haavisto, whilst Sari Essayah (Christian Democrats) and Timo Soini (True Finns) have voted for Niinistö, although the latter seemingly only because his Catholic faith is incompatible with homosexuality. The current foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja (Social Democrats) also voiced his support for Haavisto, wishing for continued excellent cooperation between himself and the president. Current party leaders Päivi Räsänen (Christian Democrats) and Stefan Wallin (Swedish People's Party) have voted for Niinistö, the extremely conservative values of the former made her choice obvious, but the latter was quite surprising. I may very well be wrong, but it does seem that the people who have actually worked with the candidates and best know the role of the president of the republic, as well as artists and educated voters, especially women and younger people, gather behind Haavisto, whilst private media corporations, big business and the uneducated average voters, with a strong core of old homofobic males, stand united behind Niinistö.
Another significant new supporter for Haavisto is Elisabeth Rehn, a former minister of defense from the Swedish People's Party, who surprisingly barely lost the 1994 elections to Martti Ahtisaari, she is highly respected and has a huge amount of international experience, so her support adds credibility to Haavisto's campaign. Unfortunately all this support from political giants has arrived at a time many already have voted in advanced, so it might be too late to convince enough voters to ignore the strong campaign against Haavisto's inexperience in financial issues, which the president has no power over.
My current analysis is that the non-homophobic supporters of the True Finns seem likely to vote for the less corrupted Haavisto who never got a university degree and doesn't represent big business in the wonderfully honest career combination of lawyer, politician and banker, whilst the rest together with the conservatives and the majority of Centre Party-supporters appear to vote for Niinistö. The left now appears to largely have united behind Haavisto, but the conservatives are very strong at the moment, so that is no guarantee of success.
What has surprised me the most in the second round is how far the Alma Media-group has been willing to go in support of Niinistö, their hugely influential main TV-channel, MTV3, is like a Finnish version of Fox News right now. Hopefully this will hurt their credibility for a long time, in my opinion even commercial media corporations should aim for at least a degree of neutrality.
Huffardo;5606574 My current analysis is that the non-homophobic supporters of the True Finns seem likely to vote for the less corrupted Haavisto who never got a university degree and doesn't represent big business in the wonderfully honest career combination of lawyer, politician and banker, whilst the rest together with the conservatives and the majority of Centre Party-supporters appear to vote for Niinistö. The left now appears to largely have united behind Haavisto, but the conservatives are very strong at the moment, so that is no guarantee of success.
I'm sure most older generations vote for Niinistö. My grandfather was a member of the Finnish Communist Party after WWII, and he said he would vote for Niinistö, until he read Niinistö's comments on strike actions and now abstains from voting instead. He didn't even know Haavisto is a homosexual until I told him, but otherwise too older people seem to think Niinistö is more representative. That was funny.
And since people from rural areas, most Centre Party supporters vote for Niinistö, Haavisto's chances are very slim. It would require a lot of people not going to the polls, since they don't like Coalition Party's proposals for municipality consolidations. But they will go vote.
I haven't yet, because I don't support right-wing corporation nor green politics. So it's almost an impossible decision to make. They're so even with their pros and cons, so perhaps I won't vote this time. I'm a bit intrigued to vote for Haavisto because I don't like people opposing him for shallow reasons, but not sure if that's a reason to vote for him either.
Doesn't matter all that much to me, the president has so little power anyway.
However, I find Niinistö to be the better choice. He's more experienced with economics which is what the foreign policy is going to be all about. Besides, the Greens oppose Nuclear power and fur farming (a cornerstone of the Ostrobothnian economy) which I don't want to support.