Date: Jan 2nd, 2018
Motion: THB that presidents in republics do a better job than regents in monarchies or kingdoms
Role: MP (opp.)
The Finnish presidential elections are at hand. It seems that the incumbent one, Sauli Niinistö, will redeem himself and take the ”Oval Office” (of Finland) by storm for a second time in a row. The president may have two terms @ six years apiece. This will mean that he will preside over both his office and staff at the president’s quarters including the residence on the shoreline in Helsinki at a place called Mäntyniemi and all of the numerous perquisites for over a decade.
However, I’m not pleased with the strategic plan of the sitting president. He is playing it safe. This is in keeping with all the earlier presidents. Most of them have played it safe, ever since the wartime presidents, who couldn’t afford that luxury. Maybe it’s in the national character. Maybe we cannot play it other than safe. Should our president not do his utmost to re-ensure his 2nd term, we could have an interesting 2nd round (which is needed if one of the candidates does not carry 50 % or more of the vote). It could be True Finns against the Green Party. It could be the Centre Party against the Green Party. It could be two independents against each other. But now it seems that there will be no 2nd round at all.
Leveling the Field
What the incumbent president should do is to announce that he is in favour of NATO. So far, the only candidate to do so has been of the Swedish People’s Party, a former 60’s Communist. His share of the vote is going to be somewhere between 1 and 5 per cent. So much for his presidency. Now, if the incumbent #1 announced as well that he has a similar outlook, that would energize and electrify the whole field of candidates, for most of the people are against NATO and the remaining candidates are all against membership in the organization as well. He could do it, as his party is roundly FOR the membership and there is widespread support FOR it among their lot. Moving in this direction would level the playing field and endow all of the candidates with pros as well as cons. For the time being, all the pros are in the cart of the incumbent president.
Not Leveling the Field
The incumbent one made the glib and smug move of not enlisting in the race under the auspices of his old party, the Coalition Party, but as the figurehead of a civil movement, whose aim was to gather 20,000 voters behind him and thus have him in the race as an ”independent” candidate. A bit like Nelson Mandela not running for the ANC but as an independent candidate. In a country of five and a half million citizens, it’s a piece of cake to gather 20,000 people behind the sitting president, so this move has done nothing to level the playing field between the candidates, and it doesn’t try out the president’s true-blue popularity the way he announced it would.
Litigation Is Not Leadership
It seems that there is an ominous principle that lawyers who have served as govt. Ministers in Finland stand a good chance of becoming Presidents. A kindred route in the U.S. might be that lawyers who have served as state Governors stand a good chance of becoming Presidents. And Niinistö is a lawyer by training. I’d like to stress that litigation does not prepare FOR and is NOT leadership. Rather, lawyership could be linked up to brinkmanship. Lawyers don’t lead the way. They collect their fees and hourly rates, when someone has run astray.
It seems that no one is in charge of the stately ship that’s called Finland. There is no captain on the bridge of the ship M/S Finlandia. Niinistö is not the captain. He does not have an agenda of his own and he is not actively pursuing a path for the country beyond the interests of the bureaucrats. He doesn’t even pardon convicts at prisons that willingly, which is the President’s side duty, as (s)he is allowed to be the only remaining ”good cop” if and when the justice system fails. He is merely the 1st Mate of the ship who is so enamored of having the privilege of dining in the Captain’s Cabin in the captain’s absence that he wants to extend his stay there by any means possible. The means he has come up with are: a dog (Boston terrier), a youngish wife (at 40) and an upcoming election baby. Moreover, he’s backed up by a popular movement and a tongue in the middle of the mouth that always tells an average Finn what (s)he wants to hear.
As I have said, this is in the national character. Finns are not good at taking strong initiative. They do not want to take the reins in their own hands. This can be seen both in the president and those who want to retain him in power. They rather respond to the Future than make it. They rather respond to the people around them than Make them.
Arvio: Olen 2. tiimin 1. puhuja. Arvatenkin minua edeltävä tiimi on käsitellyt aihetta kahdella tavalla kolmesta: a) se on yhdenvertaistanut molemmat hallitusmuodot ja pitää niitä molempia seremoniallisina, b) yksi on tuonut esiin esimerkkejä hyvistä monarkeista tai c) toinen on tuonut esiin esimerkkejä huonoista presidenteistä. Oma tapani tuoda esiin paljon kaivattu uusi näkökulma on puhua oman maamme presidentistä tässä hetkessä. Onnistun tilanteen analyysissä mielestäni oikein, mutta puheessa on vähän kateuden ja katkeruuden turhaa sivumakua.