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Last week was an extremely exciting week for the 69-old president of Finland, Sauli Niinistö.
First he won the presidential election with a huge marginal on Sunday. On Thursday he was inaugurated to his second term. And on Friday there was an announcement in his Facebook-page: "We are parents to a baby son".
Never before has a Finnish presidential couple got a child during the tenure in the office. Mr. Niinistö's wife, Mrs. Jenni Haukio, is 40 years old and the newly born is his first child. Her 30 years older husband has two adult sons with his late wife.
The couple accepted in the media
The presidential couple has been very keen to keep their private life private. Their marriage nine years ago came as a total surprise to the public. Despite the major age difference between the husband and wife, the couple was at once accepted in the media. He was the speaker of the parliament then and she was the head of the Communications in his right wing party, Kokoomus.
Something very exceptional has happened with Mr. Niinistö and the people. As president he could not represent any party and was candidate from a non-political election organisation. In the end he got 62,7 % of the votes leaving the second candidate with only 11,2%.
"Exceptional", was the most common reaction from the political analysts.
His relations with Putin and Trump
Finnish president does not have much power in domestic politics, but in the foreign relations and the security issues he is the key figure. Mr. Niinistö was able during his first tenure to meet both Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump and of course all the important EU-leaders as well.
He is seen as somebody, who can keep Finland safe during unsecure times next to Russia. Especially after 2014, when Russia invaded the Crimean Peninsula, people started to believe Mr. Niinistö can stop Putin's desire for more imperium in this direction.
Mr. Niinistö has also an interesting personal history and charisma. He was widowed young and took care of two school-aged boys for many years. For some time, he was engaged to an ex-miss Finland. During the devastating tsunami in Thailand 2004 he experienced a miracle style rescue after climbing an electric pole and waiting for help up there together with his son.
Huge advantage for the popularity has been his young wife, Jenni. Being a poet herself, she is also the chair of a big Book-fair of Turku and giving a touch of culture over their official life.
When the couple announced they were expecting last autumn, they also told that they have been trying to get a baby for eight years and that they have been through difficult periods.
He stands against nationalist wave
So because of the personality of Mr. Niinistö and the charming wife, there was no doubt that he would get the second term at the presidential office. The real surprise was the third in the competition; a 39-years old female teacher and the candidate of the nationalist Finn Party, Laura Huhtasaari.
Ms. Huhtasaari is a hardliner, evolution denialist, EU-hater and has also said that Finland could break international agreements in order to prevent asylum seekers from migrating to Finland.
Her 6,9 % of the votes was little in comparison to the winner's, but it was more than the two leftist candidates –also women- got. It is quite sure that her name will be heard many times during the coming years. She is also charismatic, and knows how to use the populist methods. She is a devoted supporter of Mr. Donland Trump and seems to have adopted his "America First" into her agenda in Finland.
But for the coming months and next six years the Finnish audience will follow the new baby Niinistö – many are jealous about the Swedish Royal Family and now there seems to be the Baby of the Republic also in Finland. (LR/TK)
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