Gay Candidate Loses Presidential Run-Off Election in Finland


Back in January I noted that Pekka Haavisto (above, left), an out gay member of Finland's Green Party, was in a run-off election against Sauli Niinisto (above, right), a pro-European conservative who survived the 2004 tsunami in Thailand by climbing a tree.

The election was held yesterday and Niinisto won:

"It looks like Niinistoe has won," Haavisto conceded on public television YLE, adding: "More than one million people have supported me and I'm quite satisfied with that."

Niinistoe was credited with 62.9 per cent of voter sympathies while Haavisto held just 37.1 per cent, with nearly 95 per cent of votes counted, Finland's justice ministry said.

The numbers were in line with what opinion polls had predicted.

AFP notes where Haavisto was weakest:

Haavisto's homosexuality lost him support among older and more traditional Finns, analysts have said. Haavisto, a 53-year-old liberal, is in a same-sex partnership with an Ecuadorean hairdresser.


  1. Rick says

    It probably did not help that his partner was a hairdresser.

    The gay men who succeed professionally and politically are invariably those with a masculine demeanor who the general public has a greater comfort level with, understandably so.

  2. Matt26 says

    He got over million votes out of 4.4 million. In my opinion it was an excellent result. I voted for him, but the guy who won (Niinistö) isn’t same kind of con there are in US, where he would be way too liberal to the gop. He’s ok.
    But it was much needed change of attitude in politics after the Parliament elections last year. Back then right wing, immigration-oppose party got a huge victory and political climate changed. Painful and embarrassed experience. This was turn-around back to more liberal, open-minded society.
    I would say in this election both of these gentlemen won.

  3. Ben says

    As I understand it, the winning candidate (Sauli Niinisto, once lampooned by none other than Conan O’Brien), was always expected to win by a wide margin over all of the other candidates, including the local Tea Party equivalent’s leader, Timo Soini. Niinisto narrowly lost in 2006. So for Haavisto – the openly gay leader of a small party with a much slimmer resume – to do so well in a very crowded field is a very good thing.

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