First round of presidential elections is now finished. The 2 candidates on for the second round are Sauli Niinistö, candidate for the conservative Kokoomus Party, and Pekka Haavisto, who represents the Green Party.
This makes for an exciting second round. Although Niinistö is largely considered to be a favourite (or a “safer” bet?) for most Finnish voters, it will be an interesting 2 week period, since Haavisto’s crowd of young, liberal voters will do their best to speed their candidate’s way towards the presidency.
In the start-up for these elections many of us expressed disappointment in the fact that only 2 candidates were women. Also, one of them represented very old-fashioned and religiously conservative views. So Finnish women, who’d been almost spoiled for choice in the past 2 presidential elections (and in general elections also), were left with very few alternatives.
Haavisto’s campaign might have got an unexpected drive from a fact, which many initially thought might be his downfall: he’s openly gay and lives in a partnership with an Ecuadorian immigrant. Definitely not everyday stuff for Finnish mainstream politicians, but it probably helped him become the front figure for many liberal Finns, who are eager to show their country is not as backward as the results from the last parliamentary elections implied.
Now lacking any female candidates to vote for, Haavisto will be my choice (too) in the second round. We’ve had enough middle-aged, middle-class, mainstream white males as presidents in this country, thank you very much.
I’m sure Pekka Haavisto is a good and competent candidate – but I can’t help getting an extra buzz from the fact that if he wins, we’ll have a gay couple hosting next year’s Presidential Independence Day ball. Go Pekka & Antonio!