Finnish Presidential election held. Niinistö and Halonen goes to the next round

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

The flag of the Finnish President

Helsinki, Finland - The first round the presidential elections were held today. With all (100%) of the votes counted, no candidate reached more than the number of votes necessary to win. The top two candidates, the social-democrat incumbent, Tarja Halonen with 46,4% and the conservative, Sauli Niinistö with 24,1 %, will go the next round in two weeks time, on the 29th. Finland has its presidential election every 6 years and it decided on the alternative vote system of 50%+1.

Finland is a Nordic country with semi-presidential system of government, in which both president and prime minister are heads of government. The role of president of Finland has become smaller the past years due to changes in the constitution, though president is still head of foreign policy and the commender-in-chief of the Finnish Defence Forces.

One of the main issues in this election is Finland's relation to NATO. Some candidates like Halonen and the green candidate Heidi Hautala oppose and some candidates like Niinistö and Henrik Lax support joining NATO. Though president is not in a position to decide about this, it is considered by some as a signal from the voters if they support NATO supporting or NATO resisting candidates.

See also