1968 Finnish presidential election

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1968 Finnish presidential election

← 1962 15.–16 January 1968 1978 →
  Urho Kaleva Kekkonen.jpg Matti-Virkkunen-1951.jpg Vennamo1989 (cropped).jpg
Nominee Urho Kekkonen Matti Virkkunen Veikko Vennamo
Party Centre National Coalition Rural Party
Electoral vote 201 66 33
Popular vote 1,221,078 482,693 231,959

President before election

Urho Kekkonen

Elected President

Urho Kekkonen

Coat of arms of Finland.svg
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Two-stage presidential elections were held in Finland in 1968. 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 70.2.[3]

Kekkonen's two opponents, the centre-right National Coalition Party's candidate Director of the National Commercial Bank Matti Virkkunen and the populist Finnish Rural Party's leader Veikko Vennamo, criticized him for governing Finland in a too autocratic way.

Vennamo in particular accused Kekkonen of pursuing a too dependent and servile foreign policy towards the Soviet Union. Since almost thirty per cent of the eligible Finnish voters abstained from voting, there was some underlying discontent with the presidential candidates, or Kekkonen's wide lead over his two opponents. Notably, the National Coalitioners and Ruralists - both opposition parties at the time - gained clearly higher percentages of the popular vote than in the 1966 Finnish parliamentary elections. This foreshadowed their major gains in the 1970 Finnish parliamentary elections. Although during this presidential campaign, Kekkonen promised not to run for president again (see, for example, Timo Vihavainen, "The Welfare Finland" (Hyvinvointi-Suomi), pp. 859–861 in Seppo Zetterberg et al., eds., A Small Giant of the Finnish History / Suomen historian pikkujättiläinen. Helsinki: WSOY, 2003; Pentti Virrankoski, A History of Finland / Suomen historia, volumes 1&2. Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society (Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura), 2009, p. 961; Martti Häikiö, The Election of President / Presidentin valinta, p. 96. Porvoo: WSOY, 1993; What-Where-When: A Citizen's Yearbook (Mitä-Missä-Milloin - Kansalaisen vuosikirja) 1969, p. 140. Helsinki: Otava Ltd., 1968), however, he extended his presidential term in 1973 and ran nearly unopposed in 1978.


Popular vote[edit]

Alliance or party Votes % Seats
Electoral Union of Urho Kekkonen Centre Party 421,197 20.7 65
Finnish People's Democratic League 345,609 17.0 56
Social Democratic Party 315,068 15.5 55
Social Democratic Union of Workers and Smallholders 46,833 2.3 6
Swedish People's Party 2,568 0.1 0
Independents 21,425 1.1 1
Electoral Union of Matti Virkkunen National Coalition Party 432,014 21.2 58
Independents 6,787 0.3 2
Electoral Union of Veikko Vennamo 231,282 11.3 33
Electoral Union of SFP Supporters of Urho Kekkonen 68,378 3.4 9
Supporters of Matti Virkkunen 43,892 2.2 6
Supporters of Veikko Vennamo 677 0.0 0
Electoral Union of LKP 102,831 5.0 9
Others 31 0.0 0
Invalid/blank votes 10,410
Total 2,049,002 100 300
Source: Nohln & Stöver

Electoral college[edit]

Candidate Party Votes %
Urho Kekkonen Centre Party 201 67.0
Matti Virkkunen National Coalition Party 66 22.0
Veikko Vennamo Finnish Rural Party 33 11.0
Total 300 100
Source: Nohlen & Stöver


  1. ^ Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p. 606 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p. 630
  3. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p. 624