- Title: FINLAND: CANDIDATES VOTE IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.
- Date: 7th February 2000
- Summary: HELSINKI, FINLAND (FEBRUARY 6, 2000) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. GV/MV: INTERIORS POLLING STATION IN HELSINKI, PEOPLE CASTING THEIR BALLOTS (3 SHOTS) 0.14 2. SV/CU: TARJA HALONEN WALKS IN, REGISTERS (2 SHOTS) 0.27 3. CU/MV: ELECTION OFFICIAL REGISTRING HALONEN (3 SHOTS) 0.37 4. MV: HALONEN CASTING HER BALLOT (2 SHOTS) 0.57 5. GV: HALONEN COMING OUT OF THE POLLING STATION 1.00 6. CU: SOUNDBITE (English) TARJA HALONEN ANSWERING THE QUESTION THE POSSIBILITY OF SANCTIONS AGAINST AUSTRIA: "I think it is a very complicated matter. I think that Portugal has worked very hard to show that the member countries, especially Central European member countries feel very strongly about their own history and they have all the reasons to be worried. Nobody can better than the others [member countries] tell what is good and what is bad. We must try to find the solution together." 1.31 7. CU/GV: TARJA HALONEN'S BOYFRIEND LISTENING/ HALONEN AND HER BOYFRIEND LEAVING (4 SHOTS) 1.44 8. GV: FINNISH AND EU FLAGS OUTSIDE POLLING STATION 1.47 9. GV: VIEW HELSINKI BAY, BIRDS (2 SHOTS) 1.52 10. GV: WIDE SHOT INTERIORS POLLING STATION IN CENTRAL HELSINKI 1.55 11. GV/MV: PEOPLE REGISTERING TO VOTE (3 SHOTS) 2.06 12. GV/MV/CU: PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ESKO AHO COMING TO VOTE (3 SHOTS) 2.16 13. GV/PAN/CU: ESKO AHO CASTING HIS BALLOT (3 SHOTS) 2.46 14. SCU: SOUNDBITE (English) ESKO AHO SAYING: "I think his (Haider's) political movement is dangerous for Europe. All extremist groups are dangerous" 3.00 15. GV: AHO LEAVING THE POLLING STATION 3.03 16. SCU: SOUNDBITE (English) ESKO AHO SAYING: "I [if elected President] will have to assist both the European Union and Finnish government to come out of this quite complicated situation as soon as possible. It means that the Union should be able to have normal contacts with Austria and at the same time to pressure the Haider party in a way that will bring results." 3.31 17. MV: REPORTER TAKING NOTES 3.33 18. V: AHO TALKING TO JOURNALISTS 3.35 19. GV: EXTERIOR PRESIDENTIAL PALACE 3.38 20. LV: BOAT IN HELSINKI BAY 3.42 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 22nd February 2000 12:00
- Location: HELSINKI, FINLAND
- Country: Finland
- Reuters ID: LVAAUP49YL5113PE8E7UEOVP7MBJ
- Story Text: Finns have voted in a close presidential run-off
between a seasoned male politician and Foreign Minister Tarja
Halonen in the running to become Finland's first woman head of
The campaign was galvanised as the two candidates clashed
this week over the European Union's reaction to the rise to
power in a coalition in Austria of Joerg Haider's far-right
The election on Suday (February 6) was dominated by
the issue of the European Union's (EU) reaction to the rise
to power in a coalition in Austria of Joerg Haider's
far-right Freedom Party.
Social Democrat Halonen backed the government line in
support of the EU's condemnation and partial freeze on
relations with Austria, while Centre-Right candidate Esko Aho
struck a chord with many Finns criticising what he called rash
interference in the affairs of a sovereign EU member state.
But Aho branded Austria's far-right leader Joerg Haider a
danger for Europe on Sunday.
"I think Haider's political movement is a risk and a
danger for Europe.All that kind of extremist groups are
dangerous," Aho told reporters as he cast his vote in
While deploring Haider, he compared the EU's action to the
way in which Finland's big eastern neighbour, the Soviet
Union, meddled in Finnish politics during the Cold War.
"I [if elected President] will have to assist both the
European Union and Finnish government to come out of this
quite complicated situation as soon as possible.It means that
the Union should be able to have normal contacts with Austria
and at the same time to pressure the Heider party in a way
that will bring results." Aho told reporters at the polling
Aho said he was optimistic about the outcome of the vote,
but would wait until almost 100 percent of votes were counted
before claiming victory or admitting defeat.
"I expect the result will be very good today -- whether it
will be enough to become the next president we will see very
soon," he said.
Aho said he had won crucial support in the final stretch
from supporters of two conservative women candidates who lost
out in the January first round.
Although EU membership has been beneficial to Finland
since it joined in 1995, many Finns fear their small nation
may one day be steered by the invisible hand from far-away
Some are deeply suspicious of the EU and feel Aho is the
man to protect them rather than pro-EU Halonen, who wants to
be Finland's first female president.
Social Democrat Halonen, a single mother and 1960s
radical, won a January 16 first-round ballot with 40 percent
of the vote against Aho's 34.4 percent.Five other candidates
A victory for Halonen would bring an end to the male
monopoly on the country's highest office, and avenge a narrow
defeat of another woman contender in the 1994 vote.
An Aho triumph would end the Social Democrats' 18-year
grip on the presidency, and bring about potentially rocky
cohabitation with the SDP-led government of Prime Minister
Paavo Lipponen.Lipponen came to power in 1995 when Aho's
Centre-Right government was voted out after administering
painful belt-tightening to contain Finland's worst economic
recession he inherited from the previous government.
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