Finnish presidential election, 1962

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Two-stage presidential elections were held in Finland in 1962. On 15 and 16 January the public elected presidential electors to an electoral college.[1] They in turn elected the President. The result was a victory for Urho Kekkonen, who won on the first ballot.[2] The turnout for the popular vote was 81.5%.[3] Since Kekkonen's extremely narrow victory in the 1956 Finnish presidential elections, his political opponents had planned to defeat him in the election of 1962. In the spring of 1961, the Social Democrats, National Coalitioners, Swedish People's Party, People's Party (liberals), Small Farmers' Party and League of Liberals nominated Olavi Honka as their presidential candidate. He had just retired as the Chancellor of Justice (Finland's highest law officer, not the Justice Minister). The Honka Alliance's goal was to receive a majority of the 300 presidential electors, and thus defeat President Kekkonen. At the end of October 1961, the Soviet government sent a diplomatic note to Finland, claiming that neo-Nazism and militarism were growing so much in West Germany that Finland and the Soviet Union were in danger of being attacked by that country or by some other NATO members. Thus the Soviet Union asked Finland to negotiate on possible joint military exercises. The Note Crisis alarmed many Finns, politicians and ordinary voters alike. In late November 1961, Honka ended his presidential candidacy. Kekkonen then travelled to the Soviet Union where the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, briefly negotiated with him and assured the audience in Novosibirsk that Finland and the Soviet Union continued to have good relations, although some Finns tried to worsen them, and that joint military exercises were not needed, after all. Following the Note Crisis, Kekkonen's popularity soared, as many Finnish voters believed him to be more capable than his opponents of defending Finland's neutrality and security. Kekkonen was easily re-elected President (see, for example, Timo Vihavainen, "The Welfare Finland" (Hyvinvointi-Suomi), pgs. 840-842 in Seppo Zetterberg et al., eds., A Small Giant of the Finnish History. Helsinki: WSOY, 2003; Pentti Virrankoski, A History of Finland / Suomen historia, volumes 1&2. Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society / Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2009, pgs. 957-959; Hannu Rautkallio, The Staging of Novosibirsk / Novosibirskin lavastus. Helsinki: Tammi Ltd., 1992).


Popular vote[edit]

Alliance or party Votes % Seats
Electoral Union of Urho Kekkonen Agrarian League 698,199 31.7 111
People's Party of Finland 165,489 7.5 21
Swedish People's Party 35,599 1.6 6
Others 75,961 3.4 7
Electoral Union of KOK and KP National Coalition Party 288,912 13.1 37
People's Party of Finland 11,087 0.5 1
Liberal League 7,898 0.4 1
Finnish People's Democratic League 451,750 20.5 63
Social Democratic Party 289,366 13.1 36
Swedish People's Party 111,741 5.1 15
Social Democratic Union of Workers and Smallholders 66,166 3.0 2
Others 36 0.0 0
Invalid/blank votes 9,237
Total 2,211,441 100 300
Source: Nohln & Stöver

Electoral college[edit]

Candidate Party Votes %
Urho Kekkonen Agrarian League 199 66.3
Paavo Aitio Finnish People's Democratic League 62 20.7
Rafael Paasio Social Democratic Party 37 12.3
Emil Skog Social Democratic Union of Workers and Smallholders 2 0.7
Total 300 100
Source: Nohlen & Stöver


  1. ^ Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p606 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p630
  3. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p624