A Strong Firm President – Just What the Doctor Ordered

According to almost all the national polls here, over several years, support for the current Finnish President is strong  – very strong. 

He is seen as a stabilising factor in politics, a voice of reason and for calm diplomacy at home and abroad. 

He does not hesitate to talk with other leaders when necessary and he is listened to.

Last week Finland’s President, Mr. Sauli Niinistö, called the Russian President, Mr. Putin, and proposed that the Russian opposition leader, Mr. Alexei Navalny, should be transferred to Germany for hospital treatment.

According to an interview with YLE, the Finnish public broadcaster, Mr. Niinistö first spoke with the German Chancellor, Ms. Angela Merkel. She was in favour of ​​transferring Navalny to Germany.

After the discussion, Mr. Niinistö spoke on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin who aid that there is no political obstacle to the transfer.

Mr. Niinistö also discussed the situation in Belarus with Mr. Putin about how tensions could be eased there…  

In another television interview, Mr. Niinistö emphasised the need to help to establish dialogue between the state leadership and the opposition. He said that the end result should be that Mr. Lukashenko surrenders, and here it can be that bad lock. He indicated quite clearly that the Belarusians want change.

On domestic affairs, Mr. Niinistö commented on his constitutional powers as President as a result of the political reaction to his proposal to set top an expert group to support the management of the corona crisis. The proposal launched a critical debate on the powers of the president, which he claimed was “an attempt is being made to block his mouth”.

That was his pointed reaction when an academic commentator criticised him in the media for interfering in anything other than foreign policy…

Free speech, when presented honestly and openly, is much better than fixing elections by ballot box stuffing or by rigging postal votes, and by imprisoning, or poisoning their political opponents … or by calling them silly names. 

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