President of Finland

The President of the Republic of Finland (Finnish: Suomen tasavallan presidentti, Swedish: Republiken Finlands president) is the head of state of Finland. Under the Constitution of Finland, executive power is vested in the President and the Finnish Government, with the former possessing only residual powers. The President is directly elected by universal suffrage for a term of six years. Since 1991, no President may be elected for more than two consecutive terms. The President must be a Finnish citizen by birth. The Presidential office was established in the Constitution Act of 1919. Since March 1, 2012, the President of Finland has been Sauli Niinistö. In May 2017, Niinistö announced that he would seek re-election in the 2018 presidential election, running as an independent candidate. NCP and the Christian Democrat Party supported his candidacy. He won re-election in the first round on 28 January 2018 with 62.7% of the vote and his second term began on 1 February 2018.[2][3]

Finland has, for most of its independence, had a semi-presidential system in which the president had much authority and power over both foreign and domestic policy (the best examples of this are from the tenure of President Urho Kekkonen), but in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the powers of the President have been subject to decrease. In constitutional amendments, which came into effect in 1991, 2000, and 2012, the President's powers have been reduced. The President still leads the nation's foreign politics in conjunction with the Government, and is the chief-in-command of the Finnish Defence Forces.

President of the Republic of Finland
Suomen tasavallan presidentti
Republiken Finlands president
Flag of the President of Finland
Presidential Standard
Sauli Niinistö Senate of Poland 2015
Incumbent
Sauli Niinistö

since 1 March 2012
ResidencePresidential Palace (ceremonial)
Mäntyniemi (residential)
Kultaranta (summer residence)
AppointerPopular vote
Term lengthSix years
renewable once, consecutively
Inaugural holderKaarlo Juho Ståhlberg
26 July 1919
FormationConstitution of Finland
Salary126,000 [1]
WebsiteSuomen tasavallan presidentti

Title

Officially, the head of state of Finland is the President of the Republic of Finland (Finnish: Suomen tasavallan presidentti; Swedish: Republiken Finlands president) or, more often, the President of the Republic (tasavallan presidentti, republikens president). This is in contrast to the former presidents, who retain the title "President".[a]

Election

Candidates for president can be nominated by registered parties which have received at least one seat in the preceding parliamentary election. A candidate may also be nominated by 20,000 enfranchised citizens. Between 1919 and 1988, the president was elected indirectly by an electoral college made up of electors chosen by voters in the presidential election. In the 1988 presidential election, a direct and an indirect election were conducted in parallel: if no candidate could gain a majority, the president was elected by an electoral college formed in the same elections. Since 1994, the president has been elected by a direct popular vote.

If only one candidate is nominated, that candidate becomes president without an election. Otherwise, the first round of balloting takes place on the third Sunday of January in the election year. The elections are two-staged. If one of the candidates receives more than half of the votes cast, that candidate is elected president. If no candidate wins a majority in the first stage, the top two candidates rerun in the second stage three weeks later. The candidate who then receives more votes is elected. In the event of a tie, the election is resolved by lot. The Council of State confirms the outcome of the election and, if necessary, conducts the drawing of lots. The President assumes office on the first day of the month following the election (either 1 February or 1 March depending on whether there were one or two rounds).

There have been several exceptional presidential elections. The first president, Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg, was chosen by the Finnish parliament due to the transition rule of the constitution and also due to the martial law. In 1940 and 1943, the 1937 electoral college chose the president, as it was felt that a popular election could not be arranged due to the martial law (1940) and the Continuation War (1943). In 1944 special legislation directly stipulated that Marshal Mannerheim be elected president for six years after Risto Ryti had resigned mid-term. In 1946, special legislation empowered the Parliament to choose a successor for the remainder of Mannerheim's term (until 1950), the latter having resigned. Parliament then chose Prime Minister Juho Kusti Paasikivi as president. In 1973, special legislation extended President Urho Kekkonen's term by four years until 1978, when he was re-elected regularly.

 
Candidate Party
Votes %
Sauli Niinistö Independent 1,875,342 62.6
Pekka Haavisto Green League VIHR 371,254 12.4
Laura Huhtasaari Finns Party PS 207,337 6.9
Paavo Väyrynen Independent 185,305 6.2
Matti Vanhanen Centre Party KESK 122,383 4.1
Tuula Haatainen Social Democratic Party SDP 97,294 3.2
Merja Kyllönen Left Alliance VAS 89,977 3.0
Nils Torvalds Swedish People's Party RKP 44,776 1.5
Total 2,993,668 100 %
Valid votes 2,993,668 99.7
Rejected votes 9,042 0.3
Turnout 3,002,710 66.8
Registered voters 4,498,004
Source: Ministry of Justice

Inauguration

The President-elect, accompanied by the Speaker of the Parliament and the outgoing President, assumes office on the first day of the month following the election by making a solemn affirmation in both Finnish and Swedish at a ceremony in Parliament House. The affirmation is specified in Section 56 of the Constitution:

  • In Finnish: "Minä N.N., jonka Suomen kansa on valinnut Suomen tasavallan presidentiksi, vakuutan, että minä presidentintoimessani vilpittömästi ja uskollisesti noudatan tasavallan valtiosääntöä ja lakeja sekä kaikin voimin edistän Suomen kansan menestystä."
  • In Swedish: "Jag N.N., som av Finlands folk har valts till president för republiken Finland, försäkrar att jag i utövningen av presidentämbetet redligt och troget skall följa republikens konstitution och lagar samt efter all min förmåga främja det finska folkets välfärd."
  • In English: "I, N.N., whom the people of Finland have elected President of the Republic of Finland, affirm that in the execution of my office as President I shall sincerely and faithfully observe the Constitution and laws of the Republic and to the best of my ability promote the welfare of the Finnish people."

The term of the president-elect begins at the moment the solemn affirmation has been made (about 12:20 on the day of the inauguration). After the inauguration, the new president, accompanied by the president's predecessor, inspects the guard of honour outside Parliament House.

Presidential government sessions

The President exercises his governmental powers "in council" with the Finnish Government, echoing the royal curia regis. The session (presidentin esittely) is customarily arranged once a week. There is quorum of five ministers and the Chancellor of Justice is present as well. In the session, the respective ministers present the topic and a proposal for decision. Based on the proposal, the President makes his decision. The President may depart from the proposal and may return the proposal to the Government for reconsideration. There is no voting and normally there are no speeches aside from the aforementioned proposals. Except for approvals of new laws and appointments, the Government may present the issue to the Parliament, which will make the final decision on the matter on the Government's proposal.[4]

Duties and powers

The Presidential Palace, Helsinki, Finland 05
The Presidential Palace, Helsinki is the official state residence of the president

The president’s functions and powers are directly defined in the Constitution. In addition to those specified there, the President also discharges functions assigned to the President in other laws. Under the Constitution of Finland, executive power is vested in the President and the council of state, which must enjoy the confidence of parliament. This principle is reflected in other provisions of the constitution concerning the president’s functions and powers dealing with legislation, decrees, and appointment of public officials. Custom dictates that the president upon taking office renounce any party affiliation, so that the President may appear neutral.

The powers of the President of the Republic were once so broad that it was said Finland was the only real monarchy in northern Europe. However, amendments passed in 1999 reduced its powers somewhat, and the President now shares executive authority with the Prime Minister.[5]

Mäntyniemi
Mäntyniemi the private residence of the president

Ordering premature parliamentary elections

Upon the proposal of the Prime Minister, the President may, having consulted the parliamentary groups and while Parliament is in session, order the holding of premature parliamentary election. The new parliament is chosen for a normal four-year term. Parliament itself may decide when to end its session before the election day. From 1919 to 1991 the President’s power to order a premature election was unqualified and he could do so whenever considered necessary. Presidents have ordered premature parliamentary elections on seven occasions. The President declares each annual session of parliament open and closes the last Annual Session. This is done in a speech at each opening and closing ceremony.

Appointing and discharging ministers

The Prime Minister and other members of the Government are appointed and discharged by the President of the Republic. After parliamentary elections or in any other situation where the government has resigned, the President, taking into account the result of consultations between the parliamentary groups and having heard the view of the Speaker, submits a nominee for Prime Minister to Parliament. If confirmed by Parliament with a majority of the votes cast, the President then proceeds to appoint the Prime Minister and other ministers. The President is constitutionally required to dismiss a government or any minister as soon as that government has lost the confidence of Parliament.

Appointing powers

Flag of the President of Finland (1944–1946)
Presidential Standard of 1944-1946
Flag of the President of Finland (1920–1944 and 1946–1978)
Presidential Standard of 1920-1944 and 1946-1978
Flag of the President of Finland
Presidential Standard since 1978

The President appoints:[6]

  • Governor, and other members of the board of the Bank of Finland
  • Chancellor of justice and the vice-chancellor of justice
  • Prosecutor-general and the vice prosecutor-general
  • Ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions abroad
  • Executive of Kela (Social Insurance Institution)
  • Secretary general and presenters at Office of the President of the Republic

Most of the appointment process is conducted at the respective ministry: The Office of the President does not process preparations or presentations of the appointment. Nevertheless, presidents have used these powers publicly, even against the internal recommendation of the agency.

In addition, the president appoints or gives commission to:

  • Officers of the Finnish Defence Forces and the Finnish Border Guard
  • Permanent judges, including presidents and members of the supreme court and the Supreme Administrative Court, presidents and members of the courts of appeal and administrative courts of appeal

International relations

The president conducts Finland’s foreign policy in co-operation with the council of state. The provisions of treaties and other international obligations that affect domestic legislation are implemented by acts of parliament. Otherwise, international obligations are implemented by a presidential decree. Decisions on war and peace are taken by the president with the assent of parliament.

Legislation

The President must sign and approve all bills adopted by Parliament before they become law. The President must decide on ratification within three months of receiving the bill and may request an opinion from the Supreme Court or the Supreme Administrative Court before giving assent. Should the President refuse assent or fail to decide on the matter in time, Parliament reconsiders the bill and can readopt it with a majority of votes cast. The bill will then enter into force without ratification. If Parliament fails to readopt the bill, it is deemed to have lapsed. Presidential vetoes are generally successful in preventing the bill becoming law.

Presidential pardon

In single cases, the president has the power of pardon from any imprisonment, fine, or forfeiture. General pardon requires an act of parliament.

The power of pardon has effectively become the instrument to limit "life imprisonments" to 12 years or more, since successive Presidents have eventually given pardon to all felons. The President, however, retains the power to deny pardon. In autumn 2006, the regular paroling of convicts serving a life sentence power was transferred to the Helsinki Court of Appeals, and the peculiar arrangement, where the President exercises judicial power, ended. The presidential power of giving pardon is, however, retained. Its use has diminished under the current President, Sauli Niinistö, who exercises the power particularly sparingly.[7]

Commander-in-chief of the defence forces

The President of the Republic is the commander-in-chief of the Finnish Defence Forces, but may delegate this position to another Finnish citizen. Delegation of the position of commander-in-chief is an exception to the principle that the president cannot delegate functions to others. The last time this has occurred was in the Second World War (to Field Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim). The President commissions officers and decides on the mobilisation of the Defence Forces. If Parliament is not in session when a decision to mobilise is taken, it must be immediately convened. As commander-in-chief the President has the power to issue military orders concerning general guidelines for military defence, significant changes in military preparedness and the principles according to which military defence is implemented.

Decisions concerning military orders are made by the president in conjunction with the Prime Minister, and the Minister of Defence. The President decides on military appointments in conjunction with the Minister of Defence.

Emergency powers

Under the Preparedness Act, in exceptional circumstances the president may issue a decree authorising the government to exercise emergency powers for up to one year at a time. The decree must be submitted to Parliament for its approval. Should the powers available under the Preparedness Act prove inadequate in an emergency, additional powers can be assumed under the State of Defence Act. The President may declare a state of defence by decree for a maximum of three months initially. If necessary, it can be extended for a maximum of one year at a time. A state of defence may also be declared in a region of the country. The decree must be submitted to parliament for approval.

Decorations

The President, as Grand Master, awards decorations and medals belonging to the Order of the White Rose of Finland, the Order of the Lion of Finland and the Order of the Cross of Liberty to Finnish and foreign citizens. Likewise, titles of honor are awarded by the president; these include, for example, Professor and different Counsellor titles. These titles are symbolic, carry no responsibilities and have a similar role as knighting in monarchies. The highest titles are valtioneuvos (statesman) and vuorineuvos (industrial).

Speeches

The President makes a number of important public speeches and statements each year. The most notable of these are the annual New Year’s Speech on 1 January, and the speech at the opening of each annual session of parliament.

Compensation

The president receives an annual salary of 160,000 euros. The salary and other benefits are exempt from all taxes.[8]

Living former presidents

Martti Ahtisaari, tidigare president Finland och mottagare av Nobels fredrspris (2)

Martti Ahtisaari
(1994–2000)
23 June 1937 (age 81)

Tarja Halonen 1c389 8827-2

Tarja Halonen
(2000–2012)
24 December 1943 (age 75)

Official residences

The president has the use of three properties for residential and hospitality purposes: the Presidential Palace and Mäntyniemi, both in Helsinki, and Kultaranta in Naantali on the west coast near Turku.

Incapacity and succession

The President of Finland does not have a vice president. If the president is temporarily prevented from performing his or her duties, the prime minister or the deputy prime minister becomes acting president until the president’s incapacity ceases. If the president dies in office or if the Cabinet declares that the President is permanently unable to carry out the duties of office, a new president is elected as soon as possible. If the president, the prime minister, and the deputy prime minister are all temporarily unavailable, the most senior minister of the government, in years of service, becomes the acting president. The parliament can override these rules by means of an emergency constitutional amendment passed by a majority of at least 5/6, and has done so on multiple occasions.

Impeachment

If the Chancellor of Justice, the Parliamentary Ombudsman or the Council of State deem that the President of the Republic is guilty of treason or high treason, or a crime against humanity, the matter shall be communicated to the parliament. If the parliament, by three-fourths of the votes cast, decides that charges are to be brought, the prosecutor-general prosecutes the president in the High Court of Impeachment and the president abstains from office for the duration of the proceedings.

Independence Day Reception

The traditional Independence Day Reception (in Finnish: Linnanjuhlat, "the Castle Ball") at the presidential palace on 6 December is one of the key annual events in the presidential calendar. It originated as a celebration of Finland's national independence and pride, and although nowadays it is seen by some as a glorified social party, the reception is broadcast every year on television and draws a large viewing audience. The number of guests invited has varied from about 1,600 to 2,000. With the exception of ambassadors, only Finns are invited.

The history of the Independence Day reception stretches back to 1919, when the first afternoon reception was held at the presidential palace. In 1922, President and Mrs Ståhlberg hosted the first evening reception at the presidential palace, with the reception beginning at nine o' clock. Guests included the government, diplomats, members of parliament, high-ranking officers, senior civil servants, artists and other prominent people. Music and dancing were on the programme and the reception lasted until late night. Similar receptions have been held ever since, though less regularly in the beginning.

Since 1946 the Independence Day reception has taken place at the presidential palace every year with five exceptions. In 1952 it was cancelled on account of President Paasikivi's illness. In 1972 it was held at Finlandia Hall in connection with the Independence Day concert, with the prime minister as host, because the presidential palace was being renovated. In 1974 it was cancelled on account of the death of President Kekkonen's wife only a few days prior to the reception. In 1981 it was held at Finlandia Hall after the independence day concert, with Deputy Prime Minister Eino Uusitalo as host, because President Kekkonen had resigned in October and Deputy President Mauno Koivisto was campaigning for president. In 2013, the reception was held at the Tampere Hall in central Tampere, because the presidential palace in Helsinki was undergoing repairs at the time. This was the first time in the history of independent Finland that the reception was held outside Helsinki.

The president and president's spouse greet the guests individually in the State Hall at the beginning of the evening. Later on there is dancing, music provided by the Guards Band, and a traditional buffet.

History

After Finland's independence and the Civil War in Finland the matter of whether Finland should be a republic or a constitutional monarchy was much debated (see Frederick Charles of Hesse), and the outcome was a compromise: a rather monarchy-like, strong presidency with great powers over Finland's foreign affairs, the appointment of the Council of State and the officers of the civil service. The Constitution was changed in 2000, to redistribute some of this power to the parliament and the council of state. The new constitution specifies how the principles of parliamentarism are to be followed. Most significantly, the president can no longer nominate the prime minister or individual ministers independently. For example, this power was previously used to form governments where the party in plurality was excluded. Regarding the right to dissolve parliament, consultation with the prime minister and heads of parliamentary groups was made mandatory before the parliament could be dissolved and new elections ordered. Furthermore, some appointing powers, such as appointment of provincial governors and department heads at ministries, were transferred to the Cabinet of Finland.

Pre-Republican Heads of State

From the date of Finland's independence on 6 December 1917 until the end of the Finnish Civil War in May 1918, Pehr Evind Svinhufvud was the head of state of White Finland in his capacity as Chairman of the Senate. Between May 1918 and July 1919, Finland had two Regents (Finnish: valtionhoitaja, Swedish: stathållare, lit. Care-taker of State) and, for a time, an elected King, although the latter renounced the throne:

  • Pehr Evind Svinhufvud, Regent (18 May 1918 – 12 December 1918)
    • Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse, elected as King of Finland on 7 October 1918 but never took office and renounced the throne on 4 December after Germany's defeat in World War I – he had not time enough to arrive in Finland before the political climate changed following the end of the war. It is said that his regnal name was to be Väinö I of Finland ('Väinö' obviously referring to Väinämöinen, one of the main characters in the Finnish national epic Kalevala), but due to there not being contemporary records of this name it is widely considered a popular misbelief, probably created by columnist Väinö Nuorteva.
  • Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, Regent (12 December 1918 – 26 July 1919)

See also

References

  1. ^ In other contexts, the generic term for "president" is puheenjohtaja – except for appeals courts and supreme courts where the term presidentti is used.
  1. ^ "Discharging the office of President" (in Finnish). presidentti.fi. 5 January 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  2. ^ Inauguration of the President of the Republic of Finland, 1 February 2018
  3. ^ Inauguration speech by President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö on 1 February 2018
  4. ^ "Oikeustiede:presidentin esittely - Tieteen termipankki". tieteentermipankki.fi. Archived from the original on 8 February 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  5. ^ Thompson, Wayne C. (2008). The World Today Series: Nordic, Central and Southeastern Europe 2008. Harpers Ferry, West Virginia: Stryker-Post Publications. ISBN 978-1-887985-95-6.
  6. ^ "Tehtävät - Suomen tasavallan presidentti: Asema ja tehtävät: Tehtävät". Presidentti.fi. 28 February 2012. Archived from the original on 13 July 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  7. ^ https://www.iltalehti.fi/politiikka/a/201808272201163852
  8. ^ An Act on the Presidential Salary Archived 6 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine (in Finnish)

External links

2008 Nobel Peace Prize

The 2008 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to President of Finland (1994–2000) Martti Ahtisaari "for his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts".

Chancellor of Justice (Finland)

The Chancellor of Justice (Finnish: oikeuskansleri, Swedish: justitiekanslern) is a Finnish government official who supervises authorities', such as cabinet ministers', compliance with the law and advances legal protection of Finnish citizens. The Chancellor investigates complaints against authorities' activities and may also start an investigation of his or her own initiative. The Chancellor attends cabinet meetings to ensure that legal procedures and regulations are followed. The Chancellor has wide-ranging oversight, investigative and prosecutorial powers.

The Chancellor and his deputy are appointed by the President of Finland. The Chancellor is appointed for life.

The incumbent Chancellor of Justice is Tuomas Pöysti.

Chief of Defence (Finland)

The Chief of Defence (Finnish: puolustusvoimain komentaja; lit. Commander of the Defence Forces, Swedish: kommendören för försvarsmakten) is the Chief of Defence and commander of the Finnish Defence Forces, under the authority of the President of Finland.

The Chief of Defence commands the Finnish Army, the Finnish Air Force, the Finnish Navy and is assisted by the Defence Command. He is the highest-ranking officer of the forces (Admiral or General) and his deputy is the Chief of Staff of the Defence Command (Finnish: pääesikunnan päällikkö).

The current Chief of Defence is General Jarmo Lindberg.

Elections in Finland

There are four types of elections in Finland. Each Finnish citizen at least 18 years of age has the right to vote in each of the elections, which decide the following: the president , the parliament, the MEPs , and the municipal and city councils.

Finland has a presidential election every six years, in which a President of Finland is elected in two rounds on the basis of a direct popular vote.

Parliamentary elections are held every four years with a system of proportional representation in multiple seat constituencies. Finnish parliamentary elections use the d'Hondt method. Finland has a multi-party system wherein it is uncommon for a single party to achieve a majority in eduskunta; thus most Finnish governments consist of coalitions.

European Parliament elections are held every five years. Finland has 13 seats in the European Parliament.

Municipal elections are held every four years. Municipal elections are held separately in the Municipalities of Åland at the same time as the election of the Parliament of Åland. A new type of election, maakuntavaalit, was proposed by the Sipilä Cabinet in which determines the councils of each of the country's 18 provinces. The first maakuntavaalit may possibly be held in 2019.

Flag of Finland

The flag of Finland (Finnish: Suomen lippu, Swedish: Finlands flagga), also called siniristilippu ("Blue Cross Flag"), dates from the beginning of the 20th century. On a white background, it features a blue Nordic cross, which represents Christianity.The state flag has a coat of arms in the centre, but is otherwise identical to the civil flag. The swallow-tailed state flag is used by the military. The presidential standard is identical to the swallow-tailed state flag but also has in its upper left corner the Cross of Liberty after the Order of the Cross of Liberty, which has the President of Finland as its Grand Master. Like Sweden's, Finland's national flag is based on the Scandinavian cross. It was adopted after independence from Russia, when many patriotic Finns wanted a special flag for their country, but its design dates back to the 19th century. The blue colouring is said to represent the country's thousands of lakes and the sky, with white for the snow that covers the land in winter. This colour combination has also been used over the centuries in various Finnish provincial, military, and town flags.

Huittinen

Huittinen (Swedish: Vittis) is a town and municipality of Finland.

It is located in the Satakunta region. The town has a population of 10,075 (31 January 2019) and covers an area of 539.59 square kilometres (208.34 sq mi) of which 6.97 km2 (2.69 sq mi) is water. The population density is 18.92 inhabitants per square kilometre (49.0/sq mi).

The town is unilingually Finnish.

Risto Ryti, the president of Finland in 1940–44, was born in Huittinen in 1889.

Municipality of Vampula was consolidated with Huittinen on 1 January 2009.

Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg

Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈstoːlbærj], Finnish: [ˈstoːlberi]; 28 January 1865 – 22 September 1952) was a Finnish jurist and academic, who played a central role in the drafting of the Constitution of Finland in 1919. He was the first President of Finland (1919–1925) and a liberal nationalist.

List of Finns

This is a list of notable people from Finland. Finland is a Nordic country located between Sweden, Norway and Russia.

List of Presidents of Finland

The President of Finland is Finland's head of state. Under the Constitution of Finland, executive power is vested in the president and the government, with the president possessing limited powers. Since 1991 no president may be elected for more than two consecutive terms. Presidents used to be elected indirectly, by an electoral college or by Parliament, but since 1994 the president has been elected directly by the people for a term of six years. The president must be a native-born Finnish citizen. The office was established by the Constitution Act of 1919. The current office-holder is Sauli Niinistö.

Martti Ahtisaari

Martti Oiva Kalevi Ahtisaari ([mɑrtːi oiʋɑ kɑleʋi ɑhtisɑːri] (listen) born 23 June 1937 in Viipuri) is a Finnish politician, the tenth President of Finland (1994–2000), a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and a United Nations diplomat and mediator noted for his international peace work.

Ahtisaari was a United Nations special envoy for Kosovo, charged with organizing the Kosovo status process negotiations, aimed at resolving a long-running dispute in Kosovo, which later declared its independence from Serbia in 2008. In October 2008, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts". The Nobel statement said that Ahtisaari has played a prominent role in resolving serious and long-lasting conflicts, including ones in Namibia, Aceh (Indonesia), Kosovo, and Iraq.

Mauno Koivisto

Mauno Henrik Koivisto GOIH (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈmɑuno ˈkoiʋisto]; 25 November 1923 – 12 May 2017) was a Finnish politician who served as the ninth President of Finland from 1982 to 1994. He also served twice as Prime Minister, 1968 – 1970 and 1979 – 1982. He was the first Social Democratic Party member to be elected President of Finland.

Meilahti

Meilahti (in Swedish Mejlans) is a neighbourhood of Helsinki between Mannerheimintie (the main entrance road to Helsinki) and a bay named Seurasaarenselkä. Most of the houses in Meilahti were built in the 1930s and 1940s. Meilahti is home to over 6700 people. Meilahti is the location of Mäntyniemi, official residence of the President of Finland, as well as Kesäranta, the official residence of Prime Minister of Finland. Near Mäntyniemi is the former presidential residence, Tamminiemi, which is today a museum dedicated to president Urho Kekkonen.

Several hospitals are located in this district, including the Meilahti Hospital of the Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUCH).

Neighbourhoods surrounding Meilahti are Töölö, Munkkiniemi, Ruskeasuo, Pikku Huopalahti and Laakso.

For the 1952 Summer Olympics, the neighborhood hosted the rowing events.

Millennium Technology Prize

The Millennium Technology Prize (Finnish: Millennium-teknologiapalkinto) is one of the world's largest technology prizes. It is awarded once every two years by Technology Academy Finland, an independent fund established by Finnish industry and the Finnish state in partnership. The prize is presented by the President of Finland. The Millennium Technology Prize is Finland's tribute to innovations for a better life. The aims of the prize are to promote technological research and Finland as a high-tech Nordic welfare state. The prize was inaugurated in 2004.

Order of the Cross of Liberty

The Order of the Cross of Liberty (Finnish: Vapaudenristin ritarikunta; Swedish: Frihetskorsets orden) is one of three official orders in Finland, along with the Order of the White Rose of Finland and the Order of the Lion of Finland. The President of Finland is the Grand Master of the two orders, and usually of the Order of the Cross of Liberty as well, Grand Mastership of which is attached to the position of Commander-in-chief. In 1944, Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim (1867–1951) was designated as Grand Master for life. The orders are administered by boards consisting of a chancellor, a vice-chancellor and at least four members. The orders of the White Rose of Finland and the Lion of Finland have a joint board.

The Order of the Cross of Liberty was founded on March 4, 1918, upon the initiative of General C. G. E. Mannerheim. The Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela was commissioned to design the Order's insignia with the swastika.

At its foundation there were seven classes: grand cross, cross of liberty (1st to 4th class) and the medal of liberty (1st and 2nd class). The decorations of the Order of the Cross of Liberty were initially conferred only in time of war. A decree was issued on 18 August 1944 enabling the decorations to be awarded in peacetime.

The Cross of Liberty has a red ribbon when it is granted in wartime and a yellow ribbon when it is awarded in peacetime.

Decorations of the order were awarded in great numbers during the World War II, partly due to Marshal Mannerheim having issued an order that wounded soldiers were to be awarded for their sacrifice, and Finland has no separate decoration for wounded. The Cross of Liberty is usually reserved for commissioned officers, with the Medal of Liberty being awarded for soldiers of junior rank and NCOs.

Order of the Lion of Finland

The Order of the Lion of Finland (Finnish: Suomen Leijonan ritarikunta; Swedish: Finlands Lejons orden) is one of three official orders in Finland, along with the Order of the Cross of Liberty and the Order of the White Rose of Finland. The President of Finland is the Grand Master of all three orders. The orders are administered by boards consisting of a chancellor, a vice-chancellor and at least four members. The orders of the White Rose of Finland and the Lion of Finland have a joint board.

The Order of the Lion of Finland was founded on September 11, 1942. It was introduced in an effort to preserve the prestige of the Order of the White Rose of Finland, which could have been diminished if granted too frequently, and to facilitate the awarding of honours for various types of merit. The Lion of Finland is awarded for civilian and military merit. The ribbon for all classes of insignia is dark red.

The President of Finland wears the Star of the Order of the Lion of Finland.

Order of the White Rose of Finland

The Order of the White Rose of Finland (Finnish: Suomen Valkoisen Ruusun ritarikunta; Swedish: Finlands Vita Ros’ orden) is one of three official orders in Finland, along with the Order of the Cross of Liberty, and the Order of the Lion of Finland. The President of Finland is the Grand Master of all three orders. The orders are administered by boards consisting of a chancellor, a vice-chancellor and at least four members. The orders of the White Rose of Finland and the Lion of Finland have a joint board.

The Order of the White Rose of Finland was established by Gustaf Mannerheim in his capacity as regent (temporary head of state) on January 28, 1919. The name comes from the nine roses argent in the coat of arms of Finland. The order's rules and regulations were confirmed on May 16, 1919, and its present rules date from June 1, 1940. The revised scale of ranks was confirmed most recently in 1985. The original decorations were designed by Akseli Gallen-Kallela. The swastikas of the collar was replaced by fir crosses in 1963, designed by heraldic artist Gustaf von Numers. The honour can be granted for military as well as civilian merit. The ribbon for all classes is ultramarine. The motto of the Order appears on the medallion and is Isänmaan hyväksi, which means in Finnish: "For [the well-being or benefit or advantage of] the Fatherland".

The President of Finland wears the Grand Cross of the White Rose of Finland with Collar (a neck chain). The Collar is worn four centimetres from either side and hangs at equal distances at the front and back. The Grand Cross and Commander marks are awarded with a breast star.

Prosecutor General of Finland

The Prosecutor General of Finland (Finnish: Valtakunnansyyttäjä, Swedish: Riksåklagare) is the supreme prosecutor and head of the prosecution service. The current Prosecutor General of Finland is Matti Nissinen.

The Prosecutor General directs and develops prosecutorial activity by issuing general instructions and guidelines to prosecutors. He also appoints local prosecutors. He may take over a case from a subordinate prosecutor.

He also acts as the prosecutor in the High Court of Impeachment, if the Parliament decides that charges are to be brought against the President of Finland or against a member of the Finnish Council of State.

Some of the duties of the Prosecutor General are assigned to the Deputy Prosecutor General, the office of which is held by Jorma Kalske. For routine prosecutorial tasks, the office has thirteen State Prosecutors, whose jurisdiction covers the entire country.

The first Prosecutor General of Finland was Matti Kuusimäki.

Sauli Niinistö

Sauli Väinämö Niinistö (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈsɑuli ˈʋæinæmø ˈniːnistø]; born 24 August 1948) is a Finnish politician and the 12th President of Finland, in office since 2012.

A lawyer by education, Niinistö was Chairman of the National Coalition Party from 1994 to 2001, Minister of Justice from 1995 to 1996, Minister of Finance from 1996 to 2003, Deputy Prime Minister from 1995 to 2001 and the National Coalition Party (NCP) candidate in the 2006 presidential election. He served as the Speaker of the Parliament of Finland from 2007 to 2011 and has been the Honorary President of the European People's Party since 2002.

Niinistö was the NCP candidate in the 2012 presidential election, beating Pekka Haavisto of the Green League with 62.6% of the vote in the decisive second round. Niinistö assumed office on 1 March 2012, and is the first conservative president since Juho Kusti Paasikivi, who left office in 1956. In May 2017, Niinistö announced that he would seek re-election in the 2018 presidential election, running as an independent candidate. NCP and the Christian Democrat Party supported his candidacy. He won re-election in the first round on 28 January 2018 with 62.7% of the vote and his second term began on 1 February 2018.

Spouses of Presidents of Finland

The current spouse of the President of Finland is Jenni Haukio, wife of President Sauli Niinistö, who has held the position since March 1, 2012.

The only man to have been spouse of a President of Finland is Pentti Arajärvi, the husband of former President Tarja Halonen, who served from 2000 to 2012.

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