The Finns Party will definitely nominate a candidate for the presidential elections of 2018, states Timo Soini, the chairperson of the Finns Party.
“The 2018 presidential elections will take place one year before the next parliamentary elections. Not taking part in the elections would be a grave and fateful mistake. The party would disappear from the political limelight for months, sending a message of inability and unwillingness,” he writes in his blog.
- Soini won't run in next presidential elections (17 April, 2016)
Soini has previously announced that he himself will not enter the presidential race after running both in 2006 and in 2012.
The Finns Party, he writes, must nevertheless nominate a candidate who meets the requirements. Speculation in the media indicates that the most likely presidential candidates for the party are Sampo Terho, the chairperson of the Finns Party Parliamentary Group, Jussi Niinistö, the Minister of Defence, and Maria Lohela, the Speaker of the Parliament.
Soini estimates that previous presidential elections have contributed crucially to the popularity of the party by allowing it to increase its credibility and membership.
“I received 3.4 per cent of the vote in the 2006 elections,” he reminds. “That kick-started the rise of the Finns Party. The other candidates included Sauli Niinistö, Tarja Halonen, Matti Vanhanen and Heidi Hautala. I competed in the same class. It provided us with credibility. We received hundreds of new members.”
The Centre is currently the only party to announce its candidate for the next presidential elections, ex-Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen.
Other parties will presumably wait for President Sauli Niinistö to announce whether or not he will seek re-election before nominating their candidates due to the high popularity of Niinistö. Helsingin Sanomat reported late last month that as many as 87 per cent of the public believe Niinistö has handled his official responsibilities very or relatively well.
Only three per cent of the one thousand people interviewed by TNS Gallup between 5 and 15 December contrastively indicated that they have a negative opinion of Niinistö.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi