Friday, January 13, 2012

Making a Difference - The Election of Finnish President

The election of the new President for Finland is now on. Although we live in Germany, we are still Finnish citizens and thus able (and obliged, I might add) to influence the political matters of our country of origin. The main election day of the first round in the presidential election is next week, but the advance voting outside Finland ends tomorrow. So, tomorrow we will drive to Finnish Honorary Consulate in Frankfurt and vote.

As this election is quite a big deal in Finland, I thought I would introduce the candidates to all my readers. This is not a political blogs, so I'll just keep this introduction very superficial and refer mainly to the tabloids.
(Please note, that I haven't made my selection based on these facts!)


The candidates in alphabetical order (all pictures borrowed from Wikipedia):

Paavo Arhinmäki (Left Alliance)

Current Minister for Culture and Sport, seems to prefer sport over culture.

Married the mother of his unborn child a week ago.

Has quite many tattoos, for example the logo of the sport club he supports.

One of his campaign adds has been made by an artist, who became popular because of killing a cat on an artistic video.

Eva Biaudet (Swedish People's Party)

The Finnish Ombudsman for Minorities

Nothing very striking about her.

The only headline of her in the tabloids was created, when she commented the differences between Timo Soini and herself in a TV show: 'I'm taller and you are bigger'.

Sari Essayah (Christian Democrats)

World Champion in race walking and Member of the European Parliament.

Known mainly of her career in sports. Has kept herself out of the tabloids.

Pekka Haavisto (Green League)

Member of Finnish Parliament.

Mainly in the tabloids due to his Ecuadorean husband (or what should I call him, registered partner?), who got a speeding ticket, but didn't first come clean about it.

In a test, did not recognize the picture of Russian president.

Paavo Lipponen (Social Democratic Party)

Former Prime Minister of Finland.

Also known as 'Moses'. Plain-spoken - many of his minimal comments are quoted time after time.

Declined to take part in a walking test arranged for presidential candidates.

Sauli Niinistö (National Coalition Party)

Former Minister and Speaker of the Finnish Parliament.

The biggest speculation in the tabloids is, if he will win on the first round of the election (gets more than 50% of votes) or on the second round.

Won the hearts of many Finns after his wife died in a car-crash in the mid 90s and when he was caught in the middle of the Tsunami in Thailand with his sons in 2004.

Known of his hobby of rollerblading.

Timo Soini (True Finns)

The leader and the face of True Finns party, which grew up to be the third biggest party in Finland in the parliamentary election one year ago (19.1% of votes, compared to only 4.1% of votes in 2007).

The party has been criticized of it's populism.

He is a practicing Catholic (very rare in Finland) and has made the headlines with his opinions of abortion, contraception and homosexual lifestyles.

Paavo Väyrynen (Centre Party)

A veteran politician of the Centre Party. Has held many Minister positions since 1970s.

Very self-confident. Has blamed media for example of loosing his place in the Parliament last spring and and not making it to the second round of the presidential election in 1994. Does not believe in the polls, as they do not show his 'true' popularity.

More popular than the man himself has been the coffee cup in his election material.


But do you know who is the current president of Finland?

During the parliamentary election last spring, a German lady said to me: 'I saw your President in the News. How great that she is so young, energetic and beautiful, unlike our Angela Merkel'. I was a bit puzzled, as our current president Tarja Halonen looks like this:

Later that day I realized that she must have talking about the Prime Minister we had at that time, Mari Kiviniemi!
(We had the discussion in English, but Prime Minister is caller Ministerpräsident in German - maybe that was what confused her.)

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