Former presidential candidate Pekka Haavisto not running in municipal elections
Decision surprised Greens’ chairman Ville Niinistö
Green parliamentary group chairman and the party’s former presidential candidate Pekka Haavisto says that he will not run for the Helsinki City Council in this year’s municipal elections.
Haavisto’s decision means that the Greens will not be able to fully capitalise on his presidential bid in the October elections.
In the second round of the presidential elections, Haavisto won nearly 1.1 million votes.
Haavisto told Helsingin Sanomat about his decision in Kouvola in connection with a meeting of the Green ministerial group.
Haavisto said that he was not on the City Council in the previous term, and feels that his duties as chairman of the Green Parliamentary group, and his various international tasks mean that he would not be able to devote enough time to municipal politics.
Green League chairman, Minister of the Environment Ville Niinistö, was surprised when he heard of Haavisto’s decision, and jokingly asked him to "cancel the interview".
The appeal of the finalist in the presidential race was clearly reflected in public events held by the Greens in Kouvola.
"You unified the Finnish people", said one middle-aged woman who stepped up to shake Haavisto’s hand.
The Greens got 7.3 per cent of the vote in last year’s presidential elections. During Haavisto’s presidential campaign polls gave the Greens 11.4 per cent. The latest polls put the Greens’ popularity at between 8.5 and 9 per cent.
The municipal elections four years ago set a record for Green support. The party got 8.9 per cent of the nationwide vote.
The Greens’ national budget for the municipal elections is EUR 150,000. In the elections four years ago it was EUR 300,000. Most of the campaigns are financed at the regional level.
Ville Niinistö takes an optimistic view of the upcoming elections, noting that the membership of the party has doubled in a year and a half.
As he sees it, the Haavisto campaign brought the Greens back to their roots, and the members are being listened to more closely than before.
He says that in this situation, the party leadership and the party headquarters is left with the task of establishing a positive spirit and giving candidates the tools to reach large numbers of people.
Elections for Finland’s local councils will be held on October 28th this year.
Finns as well as immigrants will be allowed to vote in the municipality in which they reside.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Greens call for municipal reform in advance of local elections (7.5.2012)
EDITORIAL: Haavisto success delivers liberal backlash to last year´s Finns Party seismic shock (23.1.2012)
Ministry of Justice website: Municipal elections
The Greens of Finland