As promised previously, here is some information on this year’s presidential election candidates. The link behind each candidate’s name will take you to a short interview that was conducted in English before Christmas. I think this may be the first time that all the candidates have been interviewed in English and by the same person. David Mac Dougall is the interviewer. I think his accent may have been a bit difficult for some Finns to cope with. I’ve added some general comment and where applicable a link to their homepage. *** Note: there are advertisements included with the broadcasts… in Finnish.
Paavo Arhinmäki of the Left Alliance. According to their webpage, they believe ‘…that richness can be increased by sharing. By sharing resources in a just way we can guarantee that everyone has a living, home and safety’. Then there is some confusion: In english they claim to be the fourth largest party in Finland, while their finnish page clearly says fifth!
Eva Biaudet of the Swedish People’s Party. According to their webpage, they ‘…represents everybody who wants to maintain Finland as a bi-lingual country in the practical sense.’ Now, while I’m all for maintaining Finland as a bi-lingual country, this party are not the first one that springs to MY mind anyway… Currently works as the Ombudsman for Minorities here in Finland.
Sari Essayah of the Christian Democrats. According to their webpage, they want to ensure ‘… our democratic society is built on Christian values. By Christian values we mean the universal and lasting values which arise from the Bible and the Christian heritage, and form the basis of a good, functioning community.’ Not my cup of tea at all . Sari has previously represent Finland as an athlete (race walker).
Pekka Haavisto of the Greens. According to their webpage, they are ‘… offering a fair and safe solution. We want to leave future generations a world which is in a better condition than it is today.’ Currently sitting in equal second position, and could quite possibly be in the 2nd round of voting. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Finland having a gay president. Has been in the employ of the UN and EU with environmental and peace keeping initiatives.
Paavo Lipponen of the Social Democrat Party. According to their webpage they believe in ‘… a fair society … a supportive state … a sustainable future.’ This Paavo speaks very slowly and carefully. I actually thought he would have been higher ranked, lately his popularity has slipped significantly. Previously he has been Prime Minister of Finland and Speaker of the House of Parliament.
Sauli Niinistö of the National Coalition Party. According to their webpage they value ‘… liberty and democracy, education, tolerance, and equal opportunity…’. Sauli has been long touted as the next president, and guaranteed he’ll be in the second round. This is not his first attempt at the top job. Previously he’s been Finance Minister, Speaker of the House of Parliament, and was vice chair of the European Investment Bank board.
Timo Soini of The Finns *. According to their webpage their party is based on ‘… honesty, justice, humanity, equality, respect for work and entrepreneurship, and intellectual growth’ (note their webpage is in Finnish, and I was unable to find any official text in English). The party rose to prominence in the last general election. Although how much is genuine support and how much is backlash against the major parties remains to be seen. Timo is another who has applied for this job previously. Previously one of Finland’s representatives to the European Parliament.
Paavo Väyrynen from the Centre Party. According to their webpage their party has a common way of thinking and acting: ‘ … to take responsibility for ourselves, each other and our environment’ (Again, only in Finnish – the only English I found was for their archive library). Long term politician who lost his government seat in the last election. Surprisingly popular and also a potential second round candidate. This is his third try at president. He’s also represented Finland in the European Parliament and held many ministry positions.