The Social Democratic Party has nominated Tuula Haatainen, a 57-year-old Member of the Parliament from Helsinki, as its candidate for the presidential elections held in Finland in January, 2018.
Haatainen on Saturday received almost 49 per cent of the votes cast in a meeting of the party council of the opposition party to beat her rival candidates – Maarit Feldt-Ranta (42%) and Sirpa Paatero (9%) – for the nomination.
“Finland is a growing success story that no one believed would happen. But it did happen. Laying yourself on the line bears fruit in the long term,” she stated in her victory speech before the party faithful in Jyväskylä on Saturday.
The country, she viewed, owes much of its success to the education system and the skills possessed by its labour force. “It’s no coincidence that we’ve been able to reach the top of the world in so many fields. Education is also the key to social well-being.”
Haatainen estimated that there is a consensus on the main elements of foreign and security policy making in Finland. Although the country must consider new measures to prevent terror attacks, it must not resort to any measures that are in non-compliance with the principles of the rule of law, according to her.
“The idea of us limiting free movement in the Nordics is absurd,” she commented on one of the proposals that has been floated in the wake of the suspected terror attack in Turku on 18 August.
The European Union, she added, is more significant than ever and must strive to develop its operations further. “An EU that co-operates closely is in the best interests of a small country such as Finland. Finland must actively contribute to defining the future of the EU,” she said.
She also urged the country to adopt a zero tolerance for hate speech.
“There’s no room for hate speech or trampling on human dignity in my Finland. Human dignity is not a relative concept. Those who defend it aren’t an extreme. There’s no room for racism in Finland. I’d represent everyone as the president,” said Haatainen.
The Social Democratic Party struggled to find a suitable candidate for the presidential elections after the candidacy was turned down by many of its most senior members, including incumbent chairperson Antti Rinne, ex-Minister of Finance Jutta Urpilainen, ex-Minister for Foreign Affairs Erkki Tuomioja and ex-Speaker of the Parliament Eero Heinäluoma.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Tommi Anttonen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi