Election fever

Finland is currently in the grips of election fever. Just one month ago everyone was sure Tarja Halonen will win a second term, probably in the first round by getting more than 50% of votes. Now the latest poll says it’s 51-49 between her and Sauli Niinistö with a quarter undecided, and the whole nation is busy discussing politics.
In the last election (2000) I voted for Halonen because I thought she was for civil liberties and tolerance, and it’s nice to be first with a woman president as well. Six years later I’m totally disappointed with her performance. Not only did she fail to promote civil liberties, she actually worked to eliminate them by signing several laws, for example our new copyright act and many increases of police rights (with no corresponding increase in control of the police). She’s pro a new law to ban buying of sex (or attempting to buy them) and the latest proposal from police to have a nationwide DNA database is truly scary.

On a personal level she appears dominant, in a bad mood and not willing to listen or engage in a real discussion. Niinistö on the other hand seems calm, willing to talk frankly and wanting to do concrete things for the nation instead of maximising short-term popularity by saying nice nothings and not doing anything really constructive. The popularity Halonen achieved by saying those sweet nothings was indeed superficial as her dramatic fall has proven.

So I voted for Niinistö and am excited to hear what happens on Sunday.


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