Friday, January 6

Henrik Lax - Presidential Candidate of the Swedish People's Party (of Finland)

There have been lots of elections around the world recently. Iraq, Liberia, Afghanistan, among others. Next week Finland will hold elections for President. Currently there is pre-election voting going on. So on Saturday, I'll take the wife to the Finnish Embassy so that she can vote.

In order to get an idea of who she should be voting for, she took a test to see which candidate best matches her beliefs. The test is called the election machine, Vaalikone in Finnish. In the end, the presidential candidate that answered the test most like my wife was Sauli Ninnisto.

My wife was somewhat in shock over the result as she is more of a Social Democrat or even more left leaning politically. Sauli Ninnisto is not exactly a person of her corner of the political spectrum. She did take to heart that the other candidates also closely matched her responses. This is understandable, since some of the questions are 'Does Finland need a President?' and 'Should Finland get rid of it's second national language, Swedish?' Those questions all of the candidates provide the same answer. It seems that the candidates more answered how they thought the majority of Finns might answer, given how closely they all matched her responses.

Notice the "3" on the homepage of the candidate?

This is his number. When you vote in Finland, they give you a piece of paper with a circle in it. You then write the number of your candidate in the circle. The numbers are issued at random, and nobody gets to claim that they are #1 as the numbers start with #2.

For fun, I also took the test. Surprisingly, the election machine suggested that the most compatible candidate for me was Mr. Henrik Lax. Not only that, but there was a huge spread in the compatibility between the candidates, compared to my responses. The Social Democrat candidate, and current President, Tarja Halonen was second to last on my list, and the Green Party was least compatible at 36%.

Here are my results:

Mr. Lax is of the Swedish People's Party. The wife thinks the result makes sense as they are a more conservative party. The party is also somewhat 'infamous' in Finland as they arguaranteeded a certain number of seats in their parliamentnt in order that the native Swedish Speakers in the country (about 6%) are properly represented. As Swedish is a second official language, it is part of required education in school. However, many hate being forced to study Swedish, and many more would like to end 'Forced Swedish' language education. These issues technically will work against Mr. Lax's chances of victory. At the least, I will pay more attention to the party in the future. I do have an interest in Finnish politics, as we intend to move back there at some point.

In general, I suspect that this is a pretty boring election. Nothing like you see here in the US. If nobody gets more than 50% of the vote, then there will be a run-off between the top two. This happened in the last Presidential election 6 years ago. I remember as they had coverage of the counting of the ballots. The votes were being sorted into threee piles; One for each of the candidates and a third for blank ballots. There were many who went to vote but ended up not voting for either candidate.

In other news:

I have returned from Christmas vacation in Finland. Hopefully I can get my life back on track in a timely matter so that I can return to posting soon. Until then, enjoy the pictures below.


Henrik Lax

Swedish People's Party

Mandatory Swedish - Wikipedia

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