Tomorrow’s Election: Is Finland Ready for a Gay President?

by Kristofer Jäntti

This Sunday Finland will elect herself a brand new president to follow the two terms of Conan O’Brien’s look-alike Tarja Halonen. The question at hand is: is Finland ready continue on its progressive path and elect a gay man as head of the country and armed forces?

Pekka Haavisto, the favourite of the youth and progressive intelligentsia, has managed to garner the enthusiastic support of famous cultural figures, such as the singer and songwriter Anssi Kela. So what does this 53-year-old university drop-out have to offer, other than a same-sex sexual preference?

Haavisto has made a long career in the Green Movement from its inception in the Koijärvi Movement and as the executive editor of three publications: ‘Komposti’, ‘Suomi’ and the Green Party Voice ‘Vihreä Lanka’ (‘Green Thread’). He has also written a guide to interrailing. Politically, he’s made history as the first Green Minister in Lipponen’s first cabinet where he took the position of Environment and Development minister. Adding to his international credentials, he has worked as a Special Representative of the Foreign Ministry to Sudan and Darfur.

Pekka is generally seen as ‘the challenger’ to the favourite, the Conservative Sauli Niinistö (63). Niinistö, an ex-banker, is a political heavy-weight of Finnish Politics. He is the Honorary Chairman of the National Coalition Party and runner-up to the 2006 presidential elections. He has been both the Minister of Justice and Finance, Chairman of Parliament, and on the Board of Directors of the European Investment Bank.

Haavisto and Niinistö both have good political experience for the job, but what is truly striking (for the banter) is that these elderly men still have the charm to woo people half their age: Haavisto is in a registered partnership with Ecuadorian Antonio Flores (33) and Niinistö has managed to bag-a-young-one with Jenni Haukio (34).

So is Finland ready for Haavisto? The polls show that Niinistö is by far the more likely of the two in winning the second round of elections, which will be taking place this Sunday (5.02.2012). Nonetheless, the Finns have enjoyed Haavisto’s election campaign: *

* Unfortunately this video is only available in Finnish but to give you an idea we have photographed one of Haavisto’s election badges for you. Please see below…

Haavisto Election Badge

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