Finland is looking for a president who will be able to stand up to Putin

finland In a matter of months, it has gone from feeling like a country of peace and prosperity, concerned about the excellence of public education and luxurious social benefits, to feeling threatened and defenseless before Russia, with which it shares much in common. Does. 1,200 kilometer long border. It has gone from being a neutral country to becoming a member of NATO and directly dealing with a good part of the Atlantic alliance’s eastern front.

This change naturally affects the elections. And in April last year, Sanna Marin’s Social Democrat party finished third in a general election won by the conservative National Coalition. Petteri Orpo, at a very short distance to the extreme right. In the presidential election, the second round of which will take place this Sunday, the conservative candidate will have the advantage Alexander Stubb On your opponent, the green Pekka HaavistoAccording to the latest survey, it has dropped from 14 to 8 points in less than a week.

Stubb, who led the first round with 27.2% If we follow the poll published by the newspaper ‘Helsingin Sanomat’, he will receive 54% support from Finns to occupy the presidency, which is three percentage points less than the previous support. For his part, Haavisto, who received 25.8% of the votes in the first round, would ultimately receive 46% of the votes in the final vote on Sunday.

Stubb is clearly benefiting from his profile Former Prime Minister and former Head of Foreign Affairs, Finance and Foreign Trade, at a time when Finland is more than ever influenced by essential contacts and agreements abroad. He is a clear favorite among men and older people, especially among centre, right and far-right voters. In addition to being Foreign Minister in the previous legislature, in which Finland’s entry into NATO was blocked, he has an extensive diplomatic career at the United Nations and the European Union.

Haavisto, historical leader of the GreensOn this occasion, Joe, who is running as an independent candidate and who is the first openly gay presidential candidate in Finland, will receive the majority of votes from women and youth as well as environmentalists and left-wing voters. Haavisto’s homosexuality, married to Ecuadorian hairdresser Antonio FloresCan play as a disadvantage factor: according to a study by the University of Helsinki, one third of Finns admit in surveys that this is a reason for them not to vote.

These elections are also marked by the deteriorating economic situation. Last week the country experienced an unprecedented general strike, in which flights were cancelled, public transport halted and in which more than 10,000 workers demonstrated against labor reform, while 300,000 continued the day on strike. Supermarkets, factories, mines and large companies such as UPM, ABB, Kone, Stora Enso and John Deere ceased their activity.

cuts to the welfare state

Key issues include planned cuts to the social welfare system and changes to collective bargaining rules that the government considers important. maintain the Finnish economy At minimum levels of competitiveness and sustainability. The climate of confrontation is severe and several ministers have described unions as a “mafia”, implying that they protect their own interests, not those of workers.

“We are competing in a global market. For Finnish work to be successful in the global marketplace, Finnish workers, employers and the Finnish government must be on the same side in the competition,” the employment minister complained. arto satonenWhich has accused unions of paying rally workers for protest actions and threatening to punish those who refuse to participate in the strike.

There is no major difference between the candidates in terms of Finland’s contribution to NATO membership or various allied operations.

But if disagreements on internal issues are noticeable, differences on foreign policy are subtle. The position of both the candidates is also quite similar Defense and Security Matters, the main qualification of the President. Charlie Salonius-Pastenak of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA) confirms that “there are rhetorical differences, but in reality there is no major difference in terms of Finland’s contribution to NATO membership or various allied operations.” It’s more a matter of details than the big picture.”

In his opinion, the international context has led both candidates to modify their positions, especially Haavisto, who founded the Greens Party several decades ago. “He never thought he would defend membership in NATO.”, in addition to signing a bilateral military cooperation agreement with the United States, which has drawn Moscow’s ire. What Finnish voters are now looking for above all is a head of state who is capable of confronting any kind of threat coming from Russia. The main differences between the two are that Stubb does not rule out allowing the transit of nuclear weapons through Finnish territory and is in favor of establishing a permanent allied base in the country, two measures that Haavisto does not share.

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