Finland. According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Finland include Independence Day (December 6) and New Year (January 1). President Tarja Halonen was re-elected in January for a new term in office. However, she failed to secure the victory in the first round and the election went to a second round. There, former Social Democrat Halonen was pitted against Conservative Socialist Party candidate Sauli Niinistö. According to opinion polls, Halonen would win big over Niinistö, but he managed to mobilize the bourgeois voters surprisingly well. Halonen therefore won a tight victory with 51.8% of the vote against Niinistö’s 48.2%. On the left, the criticism was harsh on the Social Democratic campaign that was considered unsuccessful. Halonen won despite the S campaign, it was called by the Left League leader Suvi-Anne Siimes. At the same time, an internal battle was going on within the Left League, where Suvi-Anne Siimes pulled the shortest straw and was forced to resign in March. She was referred to as a innovator.
The victory in the Eurovision Song Contest in Athens in May for the so-called monster group Lordi triggered unusual cheer scenes in Finland. When Lordi arrived in Helsinki after his success with “Hard Rock Hallelujah”, close to 100,000 Finns gathered at the Market Square for the acclaimed tributes to the rock musicians, who had received harsh criticism for their challenging style before the competition.
At the turn of the year, Finland took over the EU Presidency and was forced, among other things, to deal with the EU’s problematic relationship with Russia. At the informal EU summit in Lahti in October, President Vladimir Putin was invited. In connection with the meeting, President Halonen appealed to Putin to avoid the bloodshed in the ongoing Russian-Georgian conflict. The meeting was held shortly after the assassination of regime-critical Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya in Moscow, and Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen raised the EU’s concern over the functioning of the Russian legal community.
Ahead of the formal EU-Russia summit at the end of November in Helsinki, Vanhanen sought to pave the way for a new economic and energy cooperation agreement between the two major powers. Despite intense efforts, he encountered resistance from Poland, which blocked the new negotiations demanding that Russia lift its import ban on Polish food.
In the autumn, a Finnish study suggested that Finland build a sixth nuclear reactor. The one-man investigation that worked on the government’s mission also found that more domestic renewable energy and possibly an expansion of hydropower is needed to ensure access to electricity. The country’s fifth nuclear reactor is under construction.
“New” and “old” direction in Finnish politics
After the cease-fire, the so-called “new direction” required not only foreign policy course change, but also democratization of society, social reforms, purging of “fascist” elements in the state apparatus that the “old direction” politicians should resign, etc. The leadership of the “new direction” ‘Consisted of the so-called peace opposition. It was mostly social democrats, but also some bourgeois politicians who, during the war, demanded a quick peace settlement. The backbone of the “new direction” consisted of the trade union movement and the communists. At the Social Democratic Party meeting in 1944, the peace opposition suffered a narrow defeat. After this, a large part of these, together with the opposition forces from 1940-41 and the communists, formed the Democratic Union of Finland’s People (DFFF). At the 1945 parliamentary elections, the union gained almost 1/4 of the vote.
By early 1945, the JRC leadership had entered into a cooperation agreement with the Communists. It helped increase the membership of the organization from 50,000 – the average in the 1930’s – to approx. 350,000 in 1947. It remained at that level until the 1960’s. From 1946, the struggle between the Social Democrats and the Communists intensified so strongly that the Social Democrats in the trade union movement were forced to seek help from the SDP leadership. This quickly led to the Social Democrats gathering.
In the Agrarian Confederation, the “new direction” never amounted to more than a small minority. The party’s participation in the coalition governments from 1945 to 1958 was based on a determined effort to preserve the existing community and, above all, the interests of private agriculture.
There was also an international background that, as early as 1947, the “three stores” coalition was close to being dissolved from within. The Cold War brought the “old direction” representatives back together. They launched a campaign against the DFFF and took advantage of contradictions within the government coalition. In the 1948 elections, the communists also had to take a serious setback. They were isolated from government policy.
The “old direction” nevertheless failed to change the country’s foreign policy. Opposition forces were so weak that Paasikivi did not have much difficulty in forcing his view that Finland, for example, could not. should renounce Marshall aid and stand outside the OECD. The fact that the Finns had pursued a policy that satisfied the Soviet interests led Stalin to consider in 1948 the Finnish wishes in the negotiations for a “friendship, cooperation and assistance pact” (VSB Pact). Military cooperation was limited to war threats only to Finland or to the Soviet Union through Finnish territory. The collaboration was also made dependent on mutual discussions and consultation. The VSB Pact therefore differed from the agreements of the same name entered into by the Soviet Union with the democracies of Eastern Europe.
In the 1948 election, there was no party going against the Paasikivi line in foreign policy.