Friday, 15 December, 2017

Väyrynen manages signatures for presidential polls

05 Dec 2017, 21:04 ( 9 days ago) | updated: 05 Dec 2017, 21:08 ( 9 days ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
Paavo Väyrynen.Photo Finnish parliament by Hanne Salonen.

Independent presidential hopeful Paavo Väyrynen announced on Tuesday he had been able to collect 20,000 signatures in support of his candidacy via an election association.

Direct nomination of a presidential candidate is restricted to registered political parties in Finland. If someone runs outside the parties, the candidate needs 20,000 verifiable backers. The incumbent president Sauli Niinistö is running now as an election association candidate.

Väyrynen is a former foreign minister, former chairman of the Center Party (Keskusta) and a former multiple presidential candidate. In recent years his political line has been divergent from his old party, even though he was elected as a centrist to both European parliament and the Finnish parliament in last elections.

He preferred being in the European parliament and did not take up his seat in Helsinki after the 2015 election.

Local commentators said the entry of Väyrynen may live up the presidential race. Väyrynen said on Tuesday the key concern was now "the development of the European Union towards a military alliance". He said both the government and president Niinistö are pursuing such a trend while he himself is opposed to it.

 Väyrynen told national broadcaster Yle on Tuesday that "a jubilation of the power of the people" will begin shortly.

Incumbent president Sauli Niinistö is running as an independent. The Suomen Keskusta (Centre Party) candidate is Matti Vanhanen, the main opposition Suomen Sosialidemokraattinen Puolue (Social Democratic Party of Finland-SDP) nominated Tuula Haatainen, Vihreä Liitö (Green League) candidate is Pekka Haavisto, the Vasemmistoliitto (Left Alliance) candidate is Merja Kyllönen, Suomenruotsalainenkansanpuolue (Swedish People’s Party of Finland-RKP) is Nils Torvalds and the The Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party) candidate is Laura Huhtasaari. SuomenKristillisdemokraatit (Christian Democrats of Finland) Party is backing Niinistö.

Commenting on the high support level of the incumbent president Niinistö, Väyrynen assured Niinistö will "face a return to normal circumstances". Latest polls have showed Niinistö could get 80 percent of the votes and be elected in the first round.

Väyrynen was a centrist candidate for president in 1988, 1994 and 2012. In the last presidential election in 2012, he came third in the first round. The final round was between Sauli Niinistö and Green candidate Pekka Haavisto.

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