Tomorrow is the second and final round in the election for President of Finland in the coming years.
The powers of the president in Finland aren’t what they used to be, but it’s still a sought-after position that commands a moral authority. By tradition, relations with Russia are also to a large extent handled by the president.
It was generally assumed that it wouldn’t be much of a race, with incumbent Tarja Halonen having poll ratings well ahead of every possible contender.
But that was some time ago. The challenger Sauli Niinistö has made a very good campaign, and the race now seems to close to call.
Sauli was for a long time chairman of the Finnish
conservative party and served succesfully as Minister of Finance during a period of reforms. But then he stepped down and left for a position at the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg, only to be called home when there was a need to give some life to the rather dormant presidential race.
If he wins it will be no less than a sensation. Not quite like Hamas in Palestine, but by Nordic standards…
If he loses, he will still have done much better than anyone expected, and will have improved his standing on the Finnish as well as wider scene even further.
I have no vote in Finland, but if I had, I certainly know what I would do.