Sauli Niinistö

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President of the Republic
Sauli Niinistö
Sauli Niinistö Senate of Poland 2015.JPG
12th President of Finland
Assumed office
1 March 2012
Prime MinisterJyrki Katainen
Alexander Stubb
Juha Sipilä
Preceded byTarja Halonen
Speaker of Parliament
In office
24 April 2007 – 27 April 2011
Preceded byTimo Kalli
Succeeded byBen Zyskowicz
Chairman of the European Democrat Union
In office
1998–2002
Minister of Finance
In office
2 February 1996 – 16 April 2003
Prime MinisterPaavo Lipponen
Preceded byIiro Viinanen
Succeeded byAntti Kalliomäki
Deputy Prime Minister of Finland
In office
13 April 1995 – 30 August 2001
Prime MinisterPaavo Lipponen
Preceded byPertti Salolainen
Succeeded byVille Itälä
Minister of Justice[1]
In office
13 April 1995 – 2 February 1996
Prime MinisterPaavo Lipponen
Preceded byAnneli Jäätteenmäki
Succeeded byKari Häkämies
Chairman of the National Coalition Party
In office
1994–2001
Chair of the City Council of Salo
In office
1989–1992
Member of the Parliament of Finland
In office
21 March 2007 – 19 April 2011
In office
21 March 1987 – 18 March 2003
Member of the City Council of Salo
In office
1977–1992
Member of the City Board of Salo
In office
1977–1988
Personal details
BornSauli Väinämö Niinistö
(1948-08-24) 24 August 1948 (age 70)
Salo, Finland
Political partyIndependent (2012-) National Coalition Party (until 2012)
Spouse(s)
Marja-Leena Alanko
(m. 1974; d. 1995)

Jenni Haukio
(m. 2009)
Children3
RelativesVille Niinistö (nephew)
ResidenceMäntyniemi
Alma materUniversity of Turku
Signature
WebsiteOfficial website
Military service
Allegiance Finland
Service/branchFinnish Navy[2]
RankKapteeni kauluslaatta.svg Captain

Sauli Väinämö Niinistö (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈsɑuli ˈʋæinæmø ˈniːnistø], born 24 August 1948) is a Finnish politician and the 12th President of Finland, in office since 2012.

A lawyer by education, Niinistö was Chairman of the National Coalition Party from 1994 to 2001, Minister of Justice from 1995 to 1996, Minister of Finance from 1996 to 2003, Deputy Prime Minister from 1995 to 2001 and the National Coalition Party (NCP) candidate in the 2006 presidential election. He served as the Speaker of the Parliament of Finland from 2007 to 2011 and has been the Honorary President of the European People's Party since 2002.

Niinistö was the NCP candidate in the 2012 presidential election, beating Pekka Haavisto of the Green League with 62.6% of the vote in the decisive second round. Niinistö assumed office on 1 March 2012, and is the first conservative president since Juho Kusti Paasikivi, who left office in 1956. In May 2017, Niinistö announced that he would seek re-election in the 2018 presidential election, running as an independent candidate. NCP and the Christian Democrat Party supported his candidacy. He won re-election in the first round on 28 January 2018 with 62.7% of the vote and his second term began on 1 February 2018.

Career[edit]

Niinistö was born in Salo in 1948. He ran his own law firm there before entering national politics.

Niinistö served on the municipal council of Salo from 1977 to 1992 and was elected a Member of the Parliament of Finland from the district of Finland Proper in 1987. In 1994 he was chosen to lead the NCP as party chairman and subsequently became Justice Minister in Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen's first cabinet in 1995.[3]

Switching portfolios, Niinistö became Finance Minister in 1996, continuing in Lipponen's second cabinet from 1999 to 2003.[4] In both administrations, Niinistö was Deputy Prime Minister under social democrat Lipponen. As Finance Minister, Niinistö was known for his strict fiscal policy.[5] He was the first Finn to make a purchase with euros on 1 January 2002. Niinistö was urged by his party to stand as a candidate in the 2000 presidential election, but refused. He announced his gradual retirement from politics in 2001, and he was succeeded that year by Ville Itälä as party leader. After the end of his term as a cabinet minister in 2003, Niinistö became vice-chairman of the board of directors at the European Investment Bank.

In March 2005, Niinistö announced his candidacy for the 2006 presidential election. He represented the NCP, challenging the incumbent President Tarja Halonen. He qualified for the second round runoff (as one of the top two candidates in the first round), held on 29 January 2006, but lost to Halonen. The costs of Niinistö's campaign were circa 2,225,000 euros, including 492,864 euros and 717,191 euros contributions from NCP.[clarification needed] His financial declaration in 2006 was made more detailed in 2009 because of controversies.[6][7][7]

In 2006, Niinistö announced that he was standing again for the 2007 parliamentary election. He said, however, that he had no plans to take any high-ranking political job such as the prime ministership in the future.[8] He received 60,498 votes in the 2007 elections,[9] a record in a Finnish parliamentary election; it was about 50% more than the earlier record of Hertta Kuusinen.[10] After the 2007 election, Niinistö decided to accept the position of the Speaker of the Parliament. Niinistö negotiated the merger of the European Democrat Union (EDU) into the EPP in 2002 and became its Honorary President.

Niinistö was elected as the president of the Football Association of Finland on 8 November 2009,[11] replacing Pekka Hämäläinen.

Presidency[edit]

Niinistö was the NCP candidate for a second time in the 2012 presidential election. With 37.0% of the vote, he won the election's first round and faced off against Haavisto of the Green League in the decisive second round.[12] He carried the second round with around 62.6% against Haavisto's 37.4%. Niinistö's margin of victory was larger than that of any previous directly elected president. He won a majority in 14 of 15 electoral districts.[13] Niinistö's election budget was circa 1.2 million euros.[14]

After becoming the President, Niinistö pledged to establish a special task force aiming at preventing alienation among the country's youth and expressed concern about the problems of sparsely populated rural areas. Niinistö stressed the significance of mutual understanding with the cabinet and Parliament. His acceptance speech thanked those who backed him in the campaign and those who disagreed with him. Niinistö said that the differing views expressed should be taken into consideration.[15]

In May 2017, Niinistö announced that he would seek re-election in the 2018 presidential election, running as an independent candidate.[16] His candidacy was soon supported by the National Coalition Party and Christian Democrats.[17][18] In the election, Niinistö received 62.7% of the votes, becoming the first president in Finland to get elected on the first round.[19]

Sauli Niinistö meet US-President Donald Trump in August 2017

Foreign policy[edit]

As President, Niinistö visited Russia and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in February 2013 to promote bilateral trade (e.g. Shell, Cargotec, YIT). He discussed ice hockey and business, but not human rights issues or the selling of Russian military equipment to Syria and its transport through Finland.[20]

At the same time as the sanctions against Russia, mainly caused by the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and Russia's response in Crimea and eastern Ukraine,[21] Niinistö said that the focus should be on easing tensions and increasing understanding between Europe and Russia. He stated that Finland should serve as a broker between Russia and Europe. He also stated that “Russia understands that the conflict in Ukraine has generated debate in Finland over this country’s own security policy. It’s important that President Putin understands Finland’s position on NATO membership in this debate. Finland accepts that Russia is working to find a solution to the acute conflict in Ukraine, but it needs to do more.”[22]

The Foreign minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov used a statement of Niinistö in his arguments about future choices for the next Prime Minister of Finland, saying, "'Does Northern Europe need this? How Russia will react?' President Niinistö asked these questions with the subtext. He knows that the answer is negative: nobody needs this,” Lavrov added “President Niinistö realizes that what happened in Ukraine is impossible in Finland.”[23]

In his New Years Speech 2015 Niinistö stated: " We condemned Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea as soon as it happened and then condemned Russia’s actions in eastern Ukraine. We have done this in the EU context but have also made this clear in our direct contacts with Russia. We condemn any illegal occupations, illegal use of force or attempts to limit the sovereignty of independent nations. Such actions never achieve anything but danger and increased tension. While power may have once grown out of the barrel of a gun, these days it leads to nothing but chaos."[24]

Sauli Niinistö met with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on 26 October 2016 in Tehran, Iran.[25]

In April 2017 President Niinistö supported One-China policy. According to China this means that Finland can have no relations with Taiwan.[26] On July 16, 2018 Niinistö officially hosted U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin for the US-Russia Summit in Helsinki. President Sauli Niinistö was involved 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 25, 2018. President Niinistö speaks about Russia and Baltic nations affairs at the UNGA 2018.

Personal life[edit]

Niinistö signing autographs in 2006.

Niinistö married his first wife, Marja-Leena (née Alanko), in 1974 and they had two sons, Nuutti (b. 1975) and Matias (b. 1980). Marja-Leena was killed in a car crash in January 1995. Niinistö wrote about the time after the death of his first wife in his book Viiden vuoden yksinäisyys.

While a cabinet minister, Niinistö, as a widower, was romantically involved with MP Tanja Karpela, a former beauty queen and later Minister of Culture. Karpela's Centre Party was in opposition and Niinistö was considered the second-most influential man in government. Under close press scrutiny, in 2003 Karpela and Niinistö announced their engagement, which they ended in 2004.[27]

In 2005, Niinistö met Jenni Haukio (born 1977), who at the time worked for the National Coalition Party and interviewed Niinistö for the Nykypäivä magazine.[28] They later became romantically involved, but kept the relationship secret from the public until the wedding on 3 January 2009.[29] In 2011, the couple got a Boston Terrier named Lennu, which has since become a favorite of the Finnish media. In October 2017, the couple announced that they were expecting a child. Their son was born on 2 February 2018.[30] Later his name was revealed as Aaro Veli Väinämö.[31][32]

Niinistö is the uncle of Ville Niinistö, a Green League MP from Turku, former leader of the Green League and former Minister of the Environment.[33]

Niinistö survived the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. He escaped the ensuing tsunami by climbing a utility pole with his son Matias in Khao Lak, Thailand.[34] Niinistö is a Christian.[35]

Recognition[edit]

Coat of Arms of Sauli Niinistö
Sauli Niinistö Coat of Arms.svg
ArmigerSauli Niinistö
Adopted2015
Motto"Juurista voimaa"("Strength from the Roots")

National[edit]

International[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Council of State - Ministers of Justice". Valtioneuvosto.fi. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Sauli Väinämö Niinistö". www.presidentti.fi. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Edustajamatrikkeli". Eduskunta. Archived from the original on 12 February 2012.
  4. ^ "Council of State - Ministers of Finance". Valtioneuvosto.fi. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  5. ^ "President slams government's "politics of illusion"". Yle Uutiset. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  6. ^ Sauli Niinistö Vuoden 2006 presidentinvaalin vaalirahoitusilmoitus 30 March 2006, addition 18 September 2009
  7. ^ a b Helsingin Sanomat 17 September 2009 A4
  8. ^ Niinistö Will Not Seek Other High-Ranking Posts | News | YLE Uutiset. yle.fi. Retrieved on 2 March 2012.
  9. ^ Candidates elected Whole country. 192.49.229.35. Retrieved on 2 March 2012.
  10. ^ "?People of a special mould"? – Pirkko Kotila. Kansanarkisto.fi. Retrieved on 2 March 2012.
  11. ^ "Sauli Niinistöstä Palloliiton puheenjohtaja". Football Association of Finland. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011.
  12. ^ "Presidential elections: Niinistö, Haavisto headed for second round". yle.fi. 22 January 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  13. ^ "Sauli Niinistö is Finland's 12th president". yle.fi. 5 February 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  14. ^ Niinistö keräsi toisella kierroksella yli 170 000 euroa – Sauli Niinistö – Politiikka. HS.fi. Retrieved on 2 March 2012.
  15. ^ "Niinistö pledges to fight youth alienation". yle.fi. 5 February 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  16. ^ "Sauli Niinistö hakee jatkokautta presidenttinä – mittauttaa suosionsa yhdistyksen avulla" (in Finnish). Yle. 29 May 2017. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  17. ^ "Petteri Orpo twiittasi heti Niinistön jatkokausi-ilmoituksen jälkeen: "Kokoomus on täysillä mukana"" (in Finnish). Yle. 29 May 2017. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  18. ^ "Kristillisdemokraatit tukee presidentinvaaleissa Sauli Niinistöä" (in Finnish). Yle. 19 August 2017. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  19. ^ "Sauli Niinistön voitto on todella historiallinen – "Pitää olla aikamoinen superhessu"" (in Finnish). Helsingin Uutiset. 29 January 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  20. ^ Niinistö och Putin talade Business HBL 13 February 2013 (in Swedish)
  21. ^ "U.S., EU to work together on tougher Russia sanctions". 26 March 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2018 – via Reuters.
  22. ^ Russia Warns Sweden and Finland Against NATO Membership | Defense News | defensenews.com
  23. ^ "Finland's Next Prime Minister Backs NATO Membership". 14 June 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  24. ^ "President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö's New Year's Speech on 1 January 2015 - The President of the Republic of Finland". www.presidentti.fi. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  25. ^ "PressTV-'Saudi killing of Yemenis worst type of terrorism'". Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  26. ^ "Jättiläispandojen tulo Suomeen varmistui – "Pidämme Kiinan kansallisen aarteen kunniassa"". Yle Uutiset. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  27. ^ "Sauli Niinistö vihittiin Porissa" (in Finnish). Yle. 2 January 2009. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  28. ^ "Sauli Niinistön ja Jenni Haukion rakkaustarina: Suhde pysyi vuosia salassa". Ilta-Sanomat. 2 February 2018. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  29. ^ "Niinistö yllätti kokoomuslaiset "housut kintuissa"". UusiSuomi.fi.
  30. ^ "Sauli Niinistön ja Jenni Haukion lapsi on syntynyt". Ilta-Sanomat. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  31. ^ Simola, Inka (2017-10-09). "Some sekosi Sauli Niinistön ja Jenni Haukion lapsiuutisesta: "Tätä olemme hiljaa odottaneet"". Me Naiset. Archived from the original on 2017-10-29. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  32. ^ "Baby Announcement for President and First Lady". News Now Finland. 2017-10-09. Archived from the original on 2018-01-30. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  33. ^ Kangasniemi, Sanna (20 February 2009). "Äiti ja isä vihreä". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). Ja kun vuonna 2000 tuli aika valita puolue, ei setä Sauli Niinistön kokoomus pärjännyt. Archived from the original on 1 June 2009. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  34. ^ Hämäläinen, Antti (20 September 2007). "Niinistö puhuu nyt tsunamista". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). Niinistö lähti Matiaksen kanssa juoksemaan pois rannalta ja he pelastautuivat betoniseen sähkötolppaan sadan metrin päässä rannasta. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  35. ^ "Radio Dei kysyi ehdokkailta Jeesuksesta". Kotimaa24.fi.
  36. ^ Austrian President Heinz Fischer (L) and Finland's President Sauli Niinisto arrive for the Vienna Opera Ball 2016, on February 4, 2016, in Vienna, Austria. Photo
  37. ^ Noblesse et Royautés, State visit of Finland in Denmark, April 2013, photos
  38. ^ Noblesse et Royautés Archived 17 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine. (French), State visit of President of Finland in Norway, Oct. 2012, Photo Archived 17 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  39. ^ State visit of Finland in Sweden 2012, Photo of presidential and royal couples
  40. ^ "Ilustres invitados asisten a la cena ofrecida por el rey Carlos Gustavo de Suecia en su 70 cumpleaños. Fotogalerías de Casas Reales". Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  41. ^ U of M to confer honorary degree on Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Pertti Salolainen
Deputy Prime Minister of Finland
1995–2001
Succeeded by
Ville Itälä
Preceded by
Anneli Jäätteenmäki
Minister of Justice
1995–1996
Succeeded by
Kari Häkämies
Preceded by
Iiro Viinanen
Minister of Finance
1996–2003
Succeeded by
Antti Kalliomäki
Preceded by
Timo Kalli
Speaker of Parliament
2007–2011
Succeeded by
Ben Zyskowicz
Preceded by
Tarja Halonen
President of Finland
2012–present
Incumbent