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Jan Vapaavuori (NCP), the Mayor of Helsinki, and Petteri Orpo (NCP), the Minister of Finance, spoke during the election night event of President Sauli Niinistö at the Old Student House in Helsinki on Sunday, 28 January, 2018.
Jan Vapaavuori (NCP), the Mayor of Helsinki, and Petteri Orpo (NCP), the Minister of Finance, spoke during the election night event of President Sauli Niinistö at the Old Student House in Helsinki on Sunday, 28 January, 2018.

 

The results of yesterday’s presidential elections are an indication of waning support for populism in Finland, views Antti Häkkänen (NCP), the Minister of Justice.

“Finland is sending a clear message to the rest of the world that our populists gained hardly any foothold in the elections,” he commented to Uusi Suomi during the election night event of President Sauli Niinistö at the Old Student House in Helsinki on Sunday.

Häkkänen refers especially to Laura Huhtasaari (PS) and Paavo Väyrynen (ind.), who according to him campaigned on issues such as withdrawal from the European Union and re-alignment away from the West towards Russia.

“This approach got no support from the public,” he said.

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Finland, he asserted, is a Western democracy that is firmly committed to human rights, election rights and the market economy, but also to maintaining good relations to Russia.

“There’s no support for a Russia-oriented policy that would take us into a grey area in terms of our international position. And there’s no support for populism in Finland. This is an important message,” enthused Häkkänen.

Niinistö secured his second term in office in an overwhelming fashion, by winning 67.2 per cent of the 2.9 million votes cast in the presidential elections held on Sunday. Huhtasaari and Väyrynen, by contrast, won 6.9 and 6.2 per cent of the vote respectively.

Häkkänen, who admitted to being slightly surprised by the emphatic nature of the victory, estimated that the election results are also an indication of widespread public approval of the personality, leadership and policy approach of Niinistö.

His assessment was echoed on Sunday by Jan Vapaavuori (NCP), the Mayor of Helsinki.

Vapaavuori, however, reminded that already previous elections have indicated that the resurgence of populism is not quite as evident in Finland as elsewhere in Europe. “The Finns Party did terribly well in the parliamentary elections three years ago, but they haven’t gotten a single good election result since then. Luckily we’ve been moving in this direction,” he said.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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