2018 Finnish presidential election
Presidential elections were held in Finland on 28 January 2018. The incumbent Sauli Niinistö received 62.7% of the vote and was elected for a second term, avoiding a second round. The term will be from 1 February 2018 to 1 March 2024. Although the President is elected by direct election, Niinistö gained a plurality in all municipalities and a majority in all but 13 municipalities; the next most popular candidate and Niinistö's most popular competitor in the previous elections in 2012, Pekka Haavisto, received 12.4% of the vote. The incumbent President Sauli Niinistö was elected as the candidate of the National Coalition Party in the 2012 election, he was eligible for re-election and his decision for running again was followed throughout the latter half of his first term. On 29 May 2017, Niinistö announced that he would seek support for his candidacy as an independent candidate outside party politics. To become an official candidate, Niinistö needed 20,000 signatures from his supporters. Niinistö gathered 156,000 signatures and his candidacy was confirmed on 25 September.
Soon after Niinistö's announcement, the leader of the National Coalition Party Petteri Orpo tweeted that Niinistö has the party's full support. The Centre Party decided on 30 November 2015 that the party would choose their presidential candidate in June 2016. Soon after, former Prime Minister and Centre Party's presidential candidate in 2006 election, Matti Vanhanen, announced that he would run for candidacy. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä declined his interest early on. Other prominent names in speculations for the candidacy were the former Prime Ministers Esko Aho and Anneli Jäätteenmäki, former Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn. Rehn declined the possibility stating that it wouldn't be possible to combine his duties as cabinet minister with campaigning. Aho did not comment his interest in candidacy, but it was considered unlikely for him to seek presidential nomination, as he was a candidate for the Supervisory Board of Sberbank at the time. Jäätteenmäki, an incumbent Vice President of the European Parliament, said running for President was "not on her agenda".
As no challengers appeared till the deadline of 11 May, Vanhanen was the sole candidate in June's party congress and was confirmed as the Centre Party's candidate in the presidential election. Vanhanen has said that his candidacy is motivated by the support he felt he had around the country during his last campaign and the will to improve the security situation in the areas surrounding Finland; the Finns Party is to confirm their candidate in summer 2017. The leader of the Finns Party Timo Soini announced early on in November 2014 that he would not seek candidacy in the 2018 presidential election, after getting 3,43 % and 9,4 % of votes in 2006 and 2012 presidential elections respectively, he reaffirmed his decision in April 2016, encouraging party to move on and inviting new faces to enter party's primaries. As Soini had been a strong face for the Finns Party, his decision sparked much speculation on the party's decision, as party's presidential candidate was expected to follow Soini as the chairman.
In March 2017, Soini announced. Soon after, the chairman of the parliamentary group Sampo Terho announced that he would seek chairmanship and, if elected presidential candidacy. Member of the European Parliament Jussi Halla-aho, Minister of Defence Jussi Niinistö and Speaker of the Parliament Maria Lohela did express their interest in candidacy, while Minister of Justice and Labor Jari Lindström declined early on. However, only Halla-aho decided to seek chairmanship in the leadership election. Choosing the presidential candidate for the party was on the agenda for party congress in June 2017. However, after Jussi Halla-aho won the leadership election, the decision was postponed by Halla-aho's request. A few days after the leadership election, twenty Finns Party MPs, including all cabinet ministers, defected to form a new parliamentary group under the name New Alternative. After the split, most of the potential presidential candidates had left the party. However, the newly elected vice-chairman Laura Huhtasaari and MP Tom Packalén announced that they were thinking about the candidacy.
On 4 August 2017, Halla-aho announced that the board of the Finns Party had chosen Huhtasaari as the presidential candidate of the party, her candidacy was confirmed by the party council on 23 September. On 19 June 2017, Sampo Terho announced that a new party would be formed based on the New Alternative parliamentary group under the name Blue Reform; the vice-chair of the Blue Reform parliamentary group Tiina Elovaara stated that the group was to have their own presidential candidate. However, as the party was formed after the previous parliamentary election and thus has no elected MPs, it would have required to gather a sufficient amount of signatures to set an own candidate, thus the party decided not to put forth their own candidate and neither did it formally back any running candidate. The party 2012 presidential candidate, Pekka Haavisto, announced in February 2017 that he will reprise his candidacy; the decision came. The party leader Ville Niinistö, President Niinistö's nephew, had stated that he would not seek the candidacy.
Haavisto was confirmed as the party's candidate on 12 February. The Left Alliance chose MEP Merja Kyllönen as the party's candidate on 18 March 2017, after being the only one interested in running. Former leader of the party Paavo Arhinmäki was interested in running early on, but decided to concentrate on running for the office of Mayor of Helsinki. Social Democratic Party organised an informal membership poll in Au
National Coalition Party
The National Coalition Party is a centre-right political party in Finland considered to be liberal and liberal-conservative. Founded in 1918, the National Coalition Party is one of the three largest parties in Finland, along with the Social Democratic Party and the Centre Party; the current party chair is Petteri Orpo, elected on 11 June 2016. The party self-statedly bases its politics on "freedom and democracy, equal opportunities, supportiveness and caring" and supports multiculturalism and gay rights, it is pro-European as well as a member of the European People's Party. The party's vote share was 20% in parliamentary elections in the 1990s and 2000s, it won 44 out of 200 seats in the parliamentary elections of 2011, becoming the largest party in the Finnish Parliament for the first time in its history. On the municipal level, it became the most popular party in 2008. In the 2015 election, the NCP lost its status as the country's largest party finishing second in votes and third in seats, but again joining the governing coalition.
The National Coalition Party was founded on 9 December 1918 after the Finnish Civil War by the majority of the Finnish Party and the minority of the Young Finnish Party, both supporting Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse as the King of Finland in the new monarchy. The previous day, the republicans of both parties had founded the National Progressive Party. With over 600 representatives, the foundational meeting of NCP declared the following:A national coalition is needed over old party lines that have lost meaning and have too long separated thinking citizens; this coalition's grand task must be to work to strengthen in our nation the forces that maintain society. Lawful societal order must be upheld and there must be no compromise with revolutionary aspirations, but determined constructive reform work must be pursued."The party sought to accomplish their task by advocating for constitutional monarchy and, failing that, strong governmental powers within a republican framework. On the other hand, their goal was to implement a number of social and economic reforms, such as compulsory education, universal health care, progressive income and property taxation.
The monarchist aims failed and Finland became a parliamentary republic—in which NCP advocated for strong presidential powers. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the threat posed by Joseph Stalin's communist Soviet Union influenced Finnish politics. Communists, backed by Soviet leaders, accelerated their activities while the ideological position of the National Coalition Party shifted to conservative; the new ideology was poorly received by the youth, attracted instead more to irredentist and fascist movements, such as the Academic Karelia Society or Patriotic People's Movement. In the 1933 parliamentary election, the party formed an electoral coalition with the Patriotic People's Movement, founded by former supporters of the radical nationalist Lapua Movement—even though P. E. Svinhufvud, the party's first President of Finland, played a key role in halting the Lapua Movement and vanquishing their Mäntsälä rebellion; the result was a major defeat. The NCP broke ties with the Patriotic People's Movement in 1934 under the newly elected party chair J.
K. Paasikivi, but was shut out from the Finnish Government until the outbreak of the Winter War in 1939 and only regained support. During the Winter War and the Continuation War in 1939–1944, the party took part in the war-time national unity governments and had strong support for its government policies. After the wars, the National Coalition Party sought to portray itself as a defender of democracy against the resurgent Finnish communists. Chair Paasikivi, who had advocated making more concessions to Soviet Union before the Winter War and taken a cautious line regarding cooperation with Germany before the Continuation War, acted first as Prime Minister of Finland and as President of Finland. Paasikivi is remembered as the formulator of Finnish foreign policy after World War II; the conflict between the NCP and the communist Finnish People's Democratic League culminated when President Paasikivi fired the communist Minister of the Interior Yrjö Leino, who had used the State Police to spy on the party's youth wing among other abuses.
In 1951, the party changed its official name from the original Kansallinen Kokoomuspuolue to the current Kansallinen Kokoomus. The 1950s were a time of ideological shifts, as the emphasis on individual liberty and free market reforms increased at the expense of social conservatism and maintenance of a strong government. A minor division in 1958 led to the formation of the Christian Democrats party. From 1966 to 1987, the party was in the opposition. By criticizing Finnish communists and President Urho Kekkonen of the Centre Party, the party had lost the President's trust—and thus governments formed by the Centre Party and left-wing parties followed one another. A new guard emerged within the NCP in the 1970s that sought to improve relations with long-serving President Kekkonen, their work was successful in the late 1970s. However though the NCP supported Kekkonen for president in 1978 and became the second largest party in the country in the 1979 parliamentary election, a spot in the government continued to elude the NCP until the end of Kekkonen's time in office.
During the long years in opposition, the party's support grew and in 1987 it attained the best parliamentary election result in its history so far. Harri Holkeri became the party's fi
Matti Kuusimäki is the former Prosecutor General of Finland. In 2010, he was succeeded by Matti Nissinen
Swedish People's Party of Finland
The Swedish People's Party of Finland is a liberal-centrist political party in Finland aiming to represent the interests of the minority Swedish-speaking population of Finland. An ethnic catch-all party, the party's main election issue has been since its inception the Swedish-speaking Finns' right to their own language and to maintain the Swedish language's position in Finland; the party was in governmental position 1979–2015 with one or two seats in the government and collaborated with the centre-right as well as the centre-left in the Parliament of Finland. After the 2015 election SFP was left out of the government formed by the three largest parties; the fact that both the Finnish centre-right and centre-left have needed the support from the party has meant that they have been able to affect politics of Finland on a larger scale than the party's actual size would suggest. The position of the Swedish language as one of two official languages in Finland and the Swedish-speaking minority's right to the Swedish culture are two of the results of the party's influence in Finnish politics.
The party is a member of Liberal International and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party. The youth organisation of the party is called Svensk Ungdom; the Swedish Party, a parliamentary elite party based on members in the Diet of Finland, is the historical predecessor of the Swedish People's Party of Finland. It was a part of the Svecoman movement and its main policy was opposition of the Fennoman movement. Unlike Fennomans who were liberal on other matters than the language question, the Svecoman were conservative. Axel Lille and Axel Olof Freudenthal are considered as some of the main "founding fathers" of the movement. Most members of the Liberal Party joined the Swedish Party in the 1880s, after the Liberals ceased to exist as a distinct party; the Swedish People's Party of Finland was founded in the 1906 party congress of the Swedish Party, making it one of the oldest parties in Finland. The first leader of Swedish People's Party was Axel Lille; the current leader of the party is Anna-Maja Henriksson.
In the Parliament of Finland the representative for Åland is included in SFP's parliamentary group, regardless of his/her party affiliation. This is because the political parties in Åland have no counterparts in Mainland Finland, but the SFP's interests have much in common with those of Åland as far as the Swedish language is concerned; the party receives its main electoral support from the Swedish speaking minority, which makes up about 5.5% of Finland's population. During its history, the party has suffered slow but steady decline in adherence, following the decline of the percentage of Swedish-speaking population: in 1907 it got 12% of national votes, after World War II 7% and in the 2011 parliamentary election 4.3%. In municipal elections, it holds large majorities in municipalities with a Swedish-speaking majority. Despite its position as one of the minor political parties in the Finnish parliament it has been one of the partners forming the governing coalition cabinets. Since 1956, the year when Urho Kekkonen was elected President, the party has been nearly continuously in the government.
It has been part of all coalitions with the significant exception of Paasio's first cabinet, which included only socialists and the Centre Party. Short periods of rule by single-party minority governments, Miettunen cabinet and Paasio's second government and of nonpartisan caretaker governments have interrupted its stay in the government. For this reason, SFP is criticized for being a single-issue party that accepts nearly all other policies as long as its own vital interest, the status of the Swedish language is maintained. However, although Vanhanen's first cabinet made Swedish a voluntary subject in the upper secondary school's matriculation exam, SFP remained in the government. In contrast, the Greens left the previous government after a new nuclear power plant was decided in 2002; the SFP's long continuous participation in the Finnish cabinets came to an end in 2015 when it was left out of the Sipilä cabinet. The SFP has emphasized the liberal part of its programme, attempting to woo voters outside its traditional Swedish-speaking electorate.
In 2010, the party added the word Suomen to its official Finnish name. The Swedish language is one of the two official languages of Finland; the SFP has as its main raison d'être the protection and strengthening of the position of the Swedish language in Finland. The Swedish People's Party of Finland has the most eclectic profile of any of the political parties in Finland, its members and supporters including: fishermen and farmers from the Swedish-speaking coastal areas. Small-town dwellers from the adjacent Swedish-speaking and bi-lingual towns. A significant part of the Swedish-speaking population of Finland left-leaning middle-class people. Liberals in general, who have no representation of their own in the Finnish parliament, who as such benefit from the predominantly liberal values of the SFP. Although the SFP represents a small minority of Finland, Swedish mother tongue per se is not much of a political handicap. Several times Swedish speaking presidential candidates have gathered considerable support, although not as candidates for the Swedish People's Party of Finland: In 1956 the Swedish-speaking Social Democrat Fagerholm got one elector's vote less than needed to be elected, the Agrarian Urho Kekkonen was e
The Finns Party known in English as the True Finns, is a Finnish conservative political party, founded in 1995 following the dissolution of the Finnish Rural Party. In the 2011 parliamentary election, the party won 19.1% of votes, becoming the third largest party in the Finnish Parliament. In the 2015 election the party got 17.7% of the votes, making them the parliament's second largest party. The party was in opposition for the first 20 years of its existence. In 2015 they joined the government coalition formed by Prime Minister Sipilä. Following a 2017 split, over half of the party's MPs left the parliamentary group and were subsequently expelled from their party membership; this defector group, New Alternative, continued to support the government coalition, while the Finns Party went into opposition. The party combines left-wing economic policies with conservative social values, socio-cultural authoritarianism, ethnic nationalism. Several researchers have described the party as fiscally centre-left conservative, a "centre-based populist party" or the "most left-wing of the non-socialist parties", whereas other scholars have described them as radically right-wing populist.
In the parliament seating order, the party's MPs have always been seated in the centre and the party's supporters have described themselves as centrists as well. The party has drawn people from left-wing parties but central aspects of their manifesto have gained support from right-wing voters as well; the Finns Party has been compared by international media to the other Nordic populist parties and other similar nationalist and right-wing populist movements in Europe that share euroscepticism and are critical of globalism, whilst noting its strong support for the Finnish welfare state. In June 2014, the Finns Party joined the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Parliament, where it co-operates with parties like the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom and Law and Justice of Poland; the predecessor of the Finns Party was the Finnish Rural Party, founded by Agrarian League dissident Veikko Vennamo in 1959. Vennamo ran into serious disagreement with Arvo Korsimo, the Agrarian League's party secretary, was excluded from the parliamentary group.
As a result, Vennamo started building his own organization and founded the Finnish Rural Party. Vennamo was a populist and became a critic of President Urho Kekkonen and of political corruption within the "old parties" the Centre Party; the Rural Party achieved two major victories in the elections of 1970 and 1983, winning 18 and 17 seats respectively. In the 1970s, Vennamo's personalized leadership style alienated some in the party, which led to a split in the parliamentary group in 1972. After the Rural Party's new rise in 1983 under Vennamo's son Pekka, the party became a partner in two coalition governments. However, the party's support declined in the late-1980s and early-1990s. In 1995, the party soon filed for bankruptcy. In the summer of 1995, following the collapse of the Finnish Rural Party, the decision to found the Finns Party was made by Timo Soini, Raimo Vistbacka, Urpo Leppänen and Kari Bärlund. Soini had been the Rural Party's last party secretary and Vistbacka its last chairman and MP.
The party collected the five thousand signatures needed for registration and was added to the official party register on 13 October 1995. The first party congress was held in November. Vistbacka was elected Soini the party secretary, it took some time. At the time of its founding in 1995, the party's sole MP was Vistbacka, reelected in the 1999 election. In 2003, the party won three seats: besides Vistbacka and Tony Halme were elected. In the 2007, the party gained two further seats for a total of five. In the 2008 municipal election, the Finns Party were most successful in those districts where the Social Democrats and the Left Alliance lost most. In the 2011 election, the Centre Party suffered the largest blow from the Finns Party's success. According to a 2008–2009 study, Finns Party supporters viewed themselves as centrist: on a scale where 1 was extreme left and 10 was extreme right, the average supporter placed themselves at 5.4. According to the same study, supporters were united by social conservatism.
A 2011 study indicated that the Finns Party was the most popular party among voters with an annual income of 35,000–50,000 euros, while over a quarter of the party's voters earn over 50,000 per year. The same study indicated that the party's voters included a higher percentage of blue collar workers than those of the Social Democrats. Timo Soini led the Finns Party for twenty years, from 1997 until 2017, he was first elected to the parliament in 2003. He was the party's candidate in the 2006 presidential election, was elected to the European Parliament in 2009 with the highest personal vote share in the country, he served as an MEP for two years. Soini was the party's presidential candidate for a second time in the election of 2012. Jussi Halla-aho succeeded Soini as party chairman in 2017; the Finns Party obtained 39 seats in the 2011 election, making them the third largest party, narrowly behind the National Coalition Party and the Social Democrats. Soini received 43,212 personal votes, the highest number of all candidates, leaving behind the Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb and the Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen in their Uusimaa electoral district.
The popularity of the party rose from 4.1% to 19.1% i
Grand Duchy of Finland
The Grand Duchy of Finland was the predecessor state of modern Finland. It existed between 1917 as an autonomous part of the Russian Empire. Originating in the 16th century as a titular grand duchy held by the King of Sweden, it became autonomous after the Russian annexation in the Finnish War; the Grand Duke of Finland was the Romanov Emperor of Russia, represented by the Governor-General. Due to the governmental structure of the Russian Empire and Finnish initiative, the grand duchy's autonomy expanded until the end of the 19th century; the Senate of Finland was founded in 1809, which became the most important governmental organ and the precursor to the modern Government of Finland, Supreme Court of Finland and the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland. The economic and political changes in the Grand Duchy of Finland were connected with those in the Russian Empire and the rest of Europe; the economy grew during the first half of the 19th century. The reign of Alexander II after 1855 saw significant cultural and intellectual progress and an industrializing economy.
Tensions increased after the Russification policies were enacted in 1889, which saw the introduction of limited autonomy and reduction of Finnish cultural expression. The unrest in Russia and Finland during World War I and the subsequent collapse of the Russian Empire resulted in the Finnish Declaration of Independence and the end of the Grand Duchy. An extended Southwest Finland was made a titular grand duchy in 1581, when King Johan III of Sweden, who as a prince had been the Duke of Finland, extended the list of subsidiary titles of the Kings of Sweden considerably; the new title Grand Duke of Finland did not result in any Finnish autonomy, as Finland was an integrated part of the Kingdom of Sweden with full parliamentary representation for its counties. During the next two centuries, the title was used by some of Johan's successors on the throne, but not all, it was just a subsidiary title of the King, used only on formal occasions. However, in 1802, as an indication of his resolve to keep Finland within Sweden in the face of increased Russian pressure, King Gustav IV Adolf gave the title to his new-born son, Prince Carl Gustaf, who died three years later.
During the Finnish War between Sweden and Russia, the four Estates of occupied Finland were assembled at the Diet of Porvoo on 29 March 1809 to pledge allegiance to Tsar Alexander I of Russia, who in return guaranteed that the area's laws and liberties as well as religion would be left unchanged. Following the Swedish defeat in the war and the signing of the Treaty of Fredrikshamn on 17 September 1809, Finland became a true autonomous grand duchy within the autocratic Russian Empire; the title "Grand Duke of Finland" was added to the long list of titles of the Russian Tsar. After his return to Finland in 1812, the Finnish-born Gustaf Mauritz Armfelt became counsellor to the Russian emperor. Armfelt was instrumental in securing the Grand Duchy as an entity with greater autonomy within the Russian realm, restoring the so-called Old Finland, lost to Russia in the Treaty of Nystad in 1721; the formation of the Grand Duchy stems from the Treaty of Tilsit between Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon Bonaparte of France.
The treaty mediated peace between Russia and France and allied the two countries against Napoleon's remaining threats: Great Britain and Sweden. Russia invaded Finland in February 1808, claimed as an effort to impose military sanctions against Sweden, but not a war of conquest, that Russia decided to only temporarily control Finland. Collectively, the Finnish were predominately Anti-Russian, Finnish guerillas and peasant uprisings were a large obstacles for the Russians, forcing Russia to use various tactics to quash armed Finnish rebellion. Thus, in the beginning of the war, General Friedrich Wilhelm von Buxhoeveden, with permission of the Tsar, issued an oath of fealty on Finland, in which Russia would honor Finland's Lutheran faith, the Finnish Diet, the Finnish estates as long as the Finns would remain loyal to the Russian crown; the oath dubbed anyone person who gave aid to the Swedish or Finnish armies a rebel. The Finns complied, bitter over Sweden abandoning the country for their war against Denmark and France, begrudgingly embraced Russian conquest.
The Diet of Finland was now to only meet whenever requested, was never mentioned in the manifesto published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Further on, Alexander I requested a deputation of the four Finnish estates, as he expressed concern over continued Finnish resistance; the deputation refused to act without the Diet, to which Alexander agreed with, promised the Diet would shortly be summoned. By 1809, all of Finland had been conquered and The Diet was summoned in March. Finland was united through Russia via crown, Finland was able to keep the majority of its own laws, giving it autonomy; the earlier years of the Grand Duchy can be seen as uneventful. In 1812, the area of Old Finland, known as the Viipuri Province was returned to Finland after being annexed by Russia in the Great Northern War and the Russo-Swedish War; this surprising action by the Tsar was met with anger from certain parts of the Russian government and aristocracy, who wished to either return to the previous border or annex the communities west of St. Petersburg.
Despite the outcry, the borders remained set until 1940. The gesture can b