Finnish presidential election, 2006

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Finnish presidential election, 2006
Finland
← 2000 18–24 and 29 January 2006 2012 →
  Tarja Halonen 2003.jpg Sauli Ninisto (cropped).jpg
Nominee Tarja Halonen Sauli Niinistö
Party Social Democratic National Coalition
Popular vote 1,630,980 1,518,333
Percentage 51.79% 48.21%

President before election

Tarja Halonen
Social Democratic

Elected President

Tarja Halonen
Social Democratic

Coat of arms of Finland.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Finland
Finnish presidential election result, first round
  Tarja Halonen
  Matti Vanhanen
Finnish presidential election result, second round
  Tarja Halonen
  Sauli Niinistö

A presidential election was held in Finland on 15 and 29 January 2006 which resulted in the re-election of Tarja Halonen as President of Finland for a second six-year term.

The first round of voting in Finnish presidential elections always takes place on the third Sunday of January, in this case 15 January 2006. As no candidate received more than half of the vote, a second round was held on 29 January between the two highest placed candidates from the first round, Tarja Halonen and Sauli Niinistö. Tarja Halonen, the incumbent, won the final round by 3.6 percentage points. The newly elected president formally took office for her second term on 1 March, and would have done so on 1 February, had no run-off been necessary (Constitution 55 §).

Advance voting is possible in Finnish elections, and the dates for this in the first round were the 4th, 5th and 7th to 10 January.[1] Finnish citizens voting abroad could vote from the 4th to the 7th of January.[2] An advantage to advance voting is that those doing so have a wider choice of polling stations (typically post offices, such as the one shown here), whereas on the actual election day the polling stations are fixed, usually schools, libraries or town halls.

Candidates[edit]


The candidates are listed below following their candidate numbers. This list was confirmed by the Electoral District Committee of Helsinki on 15 December 2005.

  1. (See below)
  2. Bjarne Kallis (Christian Democrats)
  3. Sauli Niinistö (National Coalition Party)
  4. Timo Soini (True Finns)
  5. Heidi Hautala (Green League)
  6. Henrik Lax (Swedish People's Party)
  7. Matti Vanhanen (Centre Party); the incumbent Prime Minister of Finland,
  8. Arto Lahti (independent)
  9. Tarja Halonen (Social Democratic Party; also supported by the Left Alliance); the current incumbent

The law states that candidate numbers start from number 2. There are various justifications, such as preventing any candidate from using the slogan "number 1" for publicity, preventing ambiguity between the numbers 1 and 7, or preventing votes from being accidentally discounted because of a resemblance to a tickmark.

Themes[edit]

The main theme of discussion in the campaign preceding the election was the President's powers and whether they should be limited further. The Green League's candidate Heidi Hautala suggested that the President be completely stripped of all powers relating to foreign affairs and foreign policy, but this proposal met with fierce resistance from the three candidates of the largest parties – Tarja Halonen, Matti Vanhanen and Sauli Niinistö. Halonen, the main left-wing candidate and incumbent president, has further indicated that the president's powers should not be increased either, since it would, in her opinion, reduce the degree of democratic decision-making.

Another important election theme was the threat of international terrorism and how to counter it. The main right-wing candidate, Sauli Niinistö, stated in the last presidential debate that he would consider Finland's membership "in a more European" North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) after 2008 to achieve such an end, but this was strongly rejected by the other main candidates. The only candidate openly embracing NATO-membership was the other right-wing candidate, Henrik Lax, of the Swedish People's Party. According to a poll carried out by the Taloustutkimus polling agency in July 2005, most Finnish people believe that NATO membership would increase the risk of international terrorism in Finland instead of decreasing it. This is also the view held by Vanhanen, of the Centre Party, and Halonen.

Other themes included Christian values emphasised by Bjarne Kallis; stronger ties around the Baltic Sea and a stronger European Union by Henrik Lax; criticism of the EU by Timo Soini and the state of entrepreneurship and the returning of Karelia by Arto Lahti.

Sauli Niinistö raised the state of work as another theme. His campaign slogan was "President of the workers" (Työväen presidentti) and this provoked many union activists and left-wing supporters and voters. However, he was also criticised for trying to lure left-wing voters to vote for him with this slogan. Niinistö's campaign stated that there was neither "left-wing work" or "right-wing work" but only Finnish work for Finnish welfare.

Opinion polls[edit]

Here is a collection of latest poll results. The opinion pollsters' methods may vary, as do the samples and the conducting time, which give the differences.

runoff election MTV3 16-18/01 HS 16–17/01
3 Sauli Niinistö 45 % 47 %
9 Tarja Halonen 55 % 53 %
first round Yle 10–11/01 [3] MTV3 weeks 52, 1 and 2 [4] HS 05–07/01 [5] HS 27–29/12 [6] AL 12–29/12 [7] HS 07–17/12 [8] Yle 09/12 [9] HS 05/11 [10] Yle 05/11 [11]
2 Bjarne Kallis 1 % 1 % 2 % 2 % 1,4 % 2 % 1 % 1 % 1 %
3 Sauli Niinistö 20 % 19 % 21 % 20 % 20,3 % 20 % 18 % 24 % 19 %
4 Timo Soini 4 % 3 % 3 % 2 % 1,4 % 2 % 1 % 1 % 1 %
5 Heidi Hautala 4 % 3 % 3 % 2 % 2,3 % 2 % 2 % 3 % 1 %
6 Henrik Lax 1 % 1 % 1 % 1 % 1,0 % 1 % 1 % 1 % 1 %
7 Matti Vanhanen 18 % 17 % 18 % 18 % 16,5 % 19 % 19 % 18 % 15 %
8 Arto Lahti 1 % < 1% < 1% 1 % 0,9 % 1 % na7 na8 na9
9 Tarja Halonen 52 % 55 % 51 % 54 % 56,2 % 55 % 58 % 52 % 61 %

The total percentages may exceed 100% due to rounding.

Two of the latest polls made by Taloustutkimus[7] and Suomen Gallup[9] raised discussion over whether Halonen would gain the 50%+ majority of the votes necessary to win the election in a single round. According to Helsingin Sanomat, the reason why Halonen's support has decreased in polls might be an increase in the number of people not wanting to reveal their favourite candidate: some of them plead to the secrecy of voting. The airtime and space given by the media for the candidates may have given the candidates with smaller support the opportunity to bring their opinions to the public, which might add to their support in the polls in question.

On the other hand, the latest poll conducted by Research International (2) showed no change in Halonen's popularity between the three different weeks.

The candidates and their supporters read their polls for their advantage. In Timo Soini's mind there was a big surprise waiting in the ballot boxes; he did, in fact, receive 3.4% of the vote, which was much more than the support for his True Finns party in the last parliamentary election. Tarja Halonen stated this election as being the only one showing such a big support to her: "The crossbar is trembling just right", she said on January 10, meaning the excitement of getting the majority of the votes. Sauli Niinistö publicly stated that there would be a second round between him and Halonen.

Voting[edit]

Voting in the Finnish 2006 presidential election took place from 09:00 to 20:00 on both of the two election days, with specifically designated periods for advance voting before both the first and second rounds. Every municipality was required by law to have at least one polling station. Voting was organised abroad for expatriate Finnish citizens at Finnish embassies, consulates and honorary consulates worldwide. The candidates were voted for directly by the electorate. Votes were counted nationally.

The counting of advance votes started at 15:00, and was expected to finish before 20:00, when the first preliminary results were announced. The preliminary counting of the election day votes began at 20:00, after which the votes were delivered to the central election committee in Helsinki, which performed a recount. The definitive result in Finnish presidential elections is required by law to be confirmed on the following Tuesday at 10:00 at the latest. However, enough votes are normally counted during the first hour after polling stations close for an unofficial, but clear, result to be announced.

Results[edit]

First round[edit]

The results of the first round.
The candidate in plurality in each municipality of Finland on the first (left) round (represents the geographical distribution but not population of supporters in plurality) and the candidate in majority on the second round (right).
  • Electorate: 4 272 537 [12].
  • First round: Votes 3 025 606, turnout 70.8% [13].


e • d Summary of the first round results in the Finnish presidential election, 2006
Candidate Nominating party Votes 1st round %
Tarja Halonen Social Democratic Party 1,397,030 46.3
Sauli Niinistö National Coalition Party 725,866 24.1
Matti Vanhanen Centre Party 561,990 18.6
Heidi Hautala Green League 105,248 3.5
Timo Soini True Finns 103,492 3.4
Bjarne Kallis Christian Democrats 61,483 2.0
Henrik Lax Swedish People's Party 48,703 1.6
Arto Lahti (independent) 12,989 0.4
Source: Ministry of Justice [3]

Result of advance voting

candidate party votes %
Tarja Halonen Social Democratic Party 636,143 49.4
Sauli Niinistö National Coalition Party 281,901 21.9
Matti Vanhanen Centre Party 258,034 20.0
Timo Soini True Finns 33,275 2.6
Heidi Hautala Green League 31,406 2.4
Bjarne Kallis Christian Democrats 23,009 1.8
Henrik Lax Swedish People's Party 17,654 1.4
Arto Lahti (independent) 5,810 0.5
Runoff

A second round run-off was held on 29 January 2006 between Tarja Halonen (Social Democratic Party) and Sauli Niinistö (National Coalition Party).

Opinion polls predicted a close election. A January 19 poll (HS Gallup) gave Halonen 53% and Niinistö 47% of the vote. By comparison, in October 2005 a clear majority of 70% would have voted for Halonen when asked to choose between her and Niinistö[14].

Four of the six candidates who did not make it to the second round, Matti Vanhanen, Bjarne Kallis, Henrik Lax and Arto Lahti publicly expressed their support for Sauli Niinistö in the runoff election. This reflects a loose alliance termed porvariyhteistyö in the Finnish media, (roughly translated as "bourgeois collaboration"). According to Niinistö and Vanhanen, the main centre-right parties (the National Coalition Party and the Centre Party) had agreed about a year earlier on some level of co-operation to better compete with Halonen, who was supported by both the Social Democrats and Left Alliance.

  • Electorate: 4 272 537 [15].
By province[edit]
Province Tarja Halonen Sauli Niinistö Matti Vanhanen Heidi Hautala Timo Soini Bjarne Kallis Henrik Lax Arto Lahti Electorate Votes Valid votes Invalid votes
Southern Savonia 41,939 17,448 24,944 1,890 2,914 1,766 187 343 129,079 91,812 91,431 381
Northern Savonia 62,276 23,964 40,128 3,158 5,426 2,251 332 513 197,683 138,352 138,048 304
North Karelia 41,812 15,605 25,274 2,244 4,520 1,682 177 351 132,825 91,942 91,665 277
Kainuu 19,659 6,380 16,001 725 1,784 706 84 172 67,545 45,629 45,511 118
Uusimaa 366,169 253,635 71,823 45,389 22,345 14,281 16,991 3,602 1,025,287 796,461 794,235 2,226
Eastern Uusimaa 24,352 12,292 6,739 2,176 1,159 1,023 5,475 208 69,688 53,543 53,424 119
Southwest Finland 130,953 73,296 36,741 9,801 8,754 3,990 4,372 1,196 355,961 269,907 269,103 804
Tavastia Proper 49,183 24,500 15,860 2,330 3,038 1,758 276 440 131,359 97,664 97,385 279
Päijänne Tavastia 55,884 29,570 17,026 2,819 4,370 2,279 347 624 156,066 113,212 112,919 293
Kymenlaakso 53,592 25,472 17,055 2,269 4,579 1,957 450 583 146,922 106,412 105,957 455
South Karelia 36,593 17,960 17,662 1,734 2,992 1,361 206 481 107,949 79,230 78,989 241
Central Finland 75,328 27,239 34,830 4,740 6,088 3,449 342 552 209,443 153,025 152,568 457
Southern Ostrobothnia 33,091 23,107 45,989 1,282 4,881 3,184 160 317 150,707 112,339 112,011 328
Ostrobothnia 47,288 15,466 12,192 2,508 1,946 6,294 15,133 227 132,754 101,359 101,054 305
Satakunta 71,633 28,339 26,793 2,512 5,147 2,184 357 897 185,999 138,255 137,862 393
Pirkanmaa 134,067 72,352 37,063 10,795 10,819 5,593 1,002 1,237 364,658 273,777 272,928 849
Central Ostrobothnia 13,322 5,366 14,904 608 1,529 3,654 870 92 53,660 40,430 40,345 85
Northern Ostrobothnia 82,342 36,595 67,230 5,632 7,433 2,806 386 741 280,672 203,656 203,165 491
Lapland 49,524 16,293 33,282 2,139 3,750 1,113 153 393 145,532 106,957 106,647 310
Åland Islands 8,023 987 454 497 18 152 1,403 20 19,603 11,644 11,554 90

Second round[edit]

  • Second round:
    • Votes 3 163 096
    • Tturnout 74.0% [16].
e • d Summary of the second round results in the Finnish presidential election, 2006
Candidate Nominating party Votes 2nd round %
Tarja Halonen Social Democratic Party 1,630,980 51.8
Sauli Niinistö National Coalition Party 1,518,333 48.2
Source: Ministry of Justice [17]

Overall summary:

e • d Summary of the 15 and 29 January 2006 Finnish presidential election results
Candidate Nominating party First round Second round
Votes % Votes %
Tarja Halonen Social Democratic Party 1,397,030 46.3 1,630,833 51.8
Sauli Niinistö National Coalition Party 725,866 24.1 1,517,947 48.2
Matti Vanhanen Centre Party 561,990 18.6
Heidi Hautala Green League 105,248 3.5
Timo Soini True Finns 103,492 3.4
Bjarne Kallis Christian Democrats 61,483 2.0
Henrik Lax Swedish People's Party 48,703 1.6
Arto Lahti Independent 12,989 0.4
Invalid/blank votes 8,805 14,354
Total 3,025,606 100 3,163,667 100
Source: First round Ministry of Justice, total [3]
By province[edit]
Province Tarja Halonen Sauli Niinistö Electorate Votes Valid votes Invalid votes
Southern Savonia 47,651 47,329 129,079 95,496 94,980 516
Northern Savonia 73,385 70,060 197,683 144,124 143,445 679
North Karelia 49,887 45,744 132,825 96,117 95,631 486
Kainuu 23,881 23,126 67,545 47,242 47,007 235
Uusimaa 429,938 401,466 1,025,287 834,807 831,404 3,403
Eastern Uusimaa 28,348 27,205 69,688 55,764 55,553 211
Southwest Finland 149,753 130,990 355,961 282,047 280,743 1,304
Tavastia Proper 55,577 46,649 131,359 102,734 102,226 508
Päijänne Tavastia 63,595 56,272 156,066 120,343 119,867 476
Kymenlaakso 60,880 50,666 146,922 112,085 111,546 539
South Karelia 41,433 41,057 107,949 82,870 82,490 380
Central Finland 88,668 70,495 209,443 159,952 159,163 789
Southern Ostrobothnia 39,758 74,467 150,707 114,867 114,225 642
Ostrobothnia 55,386 49,347 132,754 105,162 104,733 429
Satakunta 80,985 63,292 185,999 144,915 144,277 638
Pirkanmaa 156,183 130,229 364,658 287,706 286,412 1,294
Central Ostrobothnia 16,952 23,990 53,660 41,158 40,942 216
Northern Ostrobothnia 100,860 110,871 280,672 212,613 211,731 882
Lapland 59,521 51,045 145,532 111,195 110,566 629
Åland Islands 8,339 4,033 19,603 12,470 12,372 98

References[edit]

  1. ^ Advance voting in Finland list of polling stations.
  2. ^ Voting by Finns living abroad.
  3. ^ People entitled to vote- whole country. (2006), Ministry of Justice Finland. Retrieved 01 Feb 2006.
  4. ^ a First round results.
  5. ^ Second round results
  6. ^ Poll showing Tarja Halonen's large level of support in October 2005.
  7. ^ a Conducted via telephone for YLE by Taloustutkimus on January 10 and 11, and the sample size was 1582 people. The margin of error is ± 2.5 percentage points.
  8. ^ Conducted for MTV3 by Research International during the weeks 52, 1 and 2. The sample size was 1200 people (500 on weeks 52 and 1, 200 on week 2). The margin of error is ± 2.5 percentage For Halonen and ± 3 for Niinistö and Vanhanen.
  9. ^ a Conducted via telephone for Helsingin Sanomat by Suomen Gallup between January 5 and 7, and the sample size was 1500 people living in mainland Finland. The margin of error is ± 2.5 percentage For Halonen and ± 2 for Niinistö and Vanhanen.
  10. ^ Conducted for Helsingin Sanomat by Suomen Gallup between December 27 and 29, and the sample size was 1401 people. The margin of error is ± 2.5 percentage points for the three major candidates.
  11. ^ Conducted for Aamulehti and Turun Sanomat by MC-Info between December 12 and 29, and the sample size was 150 people. The margin of error is ± 1.55 percentage points for the three major candidates.
  12. ^ Conducted for Helsingin Sanomat by Suomen Gallup between December 7 and 17, and the sample size was 1400 people. The margin of error is ± 2.5 percentage points.
  13. ^ Conducted for YLE by Taloustutkimus, released December 9, and the sample size was 1400 people. The margin of error is ± 2.5 percentage points. Arto Lahti wasn't an option in this poll.
  14. ^ Conducted for Helsingin Sanomat by Suomen Gallup, released November, and the sample size was ?, The margin of error is ± ? percentage points. Arto Lahti wasn't an option in this poll.
  15. ^ Conducted for YLE by Taloustutkimus, released early November, and the sample size was 1452 people. The margin of error is ± 2.5 percentage points. Arto Lahti wasn't an option in this poll.

External links[edit]

Campaign pages[edit]