Even with the elections currently going on here in Finland and in the US, I thought I would not comment on them, but then I changed my mind. This post is all about the Finnish elections.

What happened was Mr. Soini leader and presidential candidate of the “Finns” party telling people whom he voted for.  Previously he had told the media he would only tell whom he voted for on the election day, but this was not to be true as he yesterday decided to tell everyone of whom he voted for. To tell you the truth, I was not shocked at all by the fact, that he earlierly lied about the time when he would tell his vote, as his party has been moving for such an obvious path of questionable ethics. In fact in my opinion they have betrayed their voters, but that is a matter of a nother post. I was not a bit surpriced of whom he chose to vote for in the second round after he had fallen from the contest in the first round. His party has been campaigning for the votes of the labourers by evoking the worst possible negative feelings people could have, like racism and other forms of fear. Oh, do not get me wrong, they have officially denounced racism, but when one listens to what their supporters have to say about immigrants, the racism is quite open. This is of course populism in the extreme, but it is interresting and quite revealing that the leader of this party has now declared he will vote for the conservative party “Kokoomus” candidate Mr. Niinistö. The same gentleman who has previously made some quite interresting remarcks like how the public library system should not be free of charge and how the “illegal strikes” should be punished more severely. I will not endulge here as to why I think the library system should be free, or why such punishment for strikes is ultimately wrong. If someone wants to know what I think about those, you can engage me in the comment section. Sufficient to say, that the campaign of Mr. Niinistö is largely supported by the greatest industrialists of Finland and their support groups. He was also supported in the previous parliamentary elections by the lobby group “Kehittyvien maakuntien Suomi” by some 10 000 euros, that has been on trial during the last year for corruption, though this scandal has not much diminshed the popularity of Mr. Niinistö, for some reason unknown to me. 

Why did the declaration of Mr. Soini so affect me then, if the content was much as I expected it to be? Well, I have in my previous posts commented how he seems to have hard time in keeping controll over his party representatives embarresing comments. Now, to my surprise he made one fringing common sense by himself. Usually he seems quite opportunistic and calculating about his comments, so it is hard not to believe this one was also premeditated. He said that he chose to vote for Mr. Niinistö, because he would make a better supreme commander to the Finnish armed forces. What was he referring to by this? Yes, the only contester on the second round of elections to Mr. Niinistö is Mr. Haavisto, who is one of the small minority of Finnish males who has not served in the army. I find it hard to believe that Mr. Soini actually believes that the fact that Mr. Niinistö has the rank of captain in the army reserve really makes much difference. Mr. Soini holds the rank of corporal in the same reserve, but had the audacity to puthimself up for candidacy. Surely he did not think he could have challenged a captain, with his own lowly rank, if he actually thought it was important, what is the particular military training of the candidate for the job of a president?

Most Finnish presidents have had no rank what so ever in the army. And Mr. Soini is well aware of this. He must be, if he is not totally ignorant of the office he was striving to. Is he calculating his audience has no clue of this fact? It is simply due to the fact most Finnish presidents were born before Finnish nation and the compulsory service code and because one of them is a woman, who do not have to serve in the Finnish armed forces.

Maybe we should look for the answer from what else Mr. Soini said when he defended his support to this conservative party candidate. He said that Mr. Niinistö would have better transatlantic relations. Now, we Finns do have a very strong faith in our own capabilities to protect our nation by our own army. That is why NATO membership is not popular in Finland at all. Finnish people percieve the NATO as a troublemaker, and a tool for the sole superpower the US to act without the proper support from the UN to attack sovereign nations at will. Finns generally do not want to be any part of this, as we have experience of our own, how easily stronger nations use their power against us the smaller ones by declaring we are harbouring terrorists.  The supporters of the “Finns” party come from people who are especially suspicious against the EU and the NATO, since many of them are generally suspicious of anything foreign. While Mr. Soini is supporting Mr. Niinistö he has a narrow path to thread on.

From the posters of the two leading contenders for the presidency, neither would be alligable to the high office of president. The poster of Mr. Haavisto declares that he is the negotiator for the government. Well, the clever play with words in Finnish does not translate to English, but we actually have an official negotiator for government and it is a completely different job from that of the president, so  it would seem he is applying for the wrong job. Mr. Niinistös poster declares, that a precidency is work, or something on that line. But it is written wrong in Finnish, so it really does not give a very reliable impression as to how he would handle that responsible job. 

On the second round I will give my support to Mr. Haavisto of the “Greens” party. Much more to oppose Mr. Niinistö with his market liberalistic ideals (notice the contradiction – he is the candidate of the conservative party, but supports liberalistic idealism), than to support Mr. Haavisto. Do not take me wrong. I think Mr. Haavisto would make a great president, as he is an educated man with calm attitude. Also I think he would make a great supreme commander to our armed forces, because he has wide experience from the conflict zones of this word and vision as to how crisis management works. He has worked for the UN in various areas of conflict from Afghanishtan, Iraq, Palestine, Balkans and Sudan to Liberia and researched the effect these have on the enverioment. These are the actual skills a political leader who works to guide armed forces should have, both in the case of current world situation where our military is more engaged in different UN peace keeping missions, or in a hypothetical situation where we would need to defend our national integrity.