Sunday, January 15, 2006

Conan The Finn

UPDATE: It appears that Halonen, altho winning a plurality of the votes, will be forced into a second round of voting, as her percentage was around 47%, shy of the 50% to win outright.

Conan's endorsement and mocking of the Finnish election was not cited as a reason for her failure, however it should be noted that, as late as two weeks ago, Halonen was running at about 52% in the polls.

Conan's Endorsement No Joke to Some Finns

Associated Press Writer

January 14, 2006, 10:05 PM EST

HELSINKI, Finland -- Finland's president finds her traditional support among women and the Social Democratic Party base, but lately to the surprise of many Finns -- and her opponents in Sunday's election -- she has gotten an endorsement of a different sort.

The redheaded late-night talk show host Conan O'Brien has been promoting President Tarja Halonen's re-election bid as part of a long-running joke about their supposed physical similarities.

"Why do I support Tarja Halonen? Because she's got the total package: a dynamic personality, a quick mind, and most importantly -- my good looks," the comedian, whose show is broadcast on cable in Finland, said in a statement to The Associated Press.

Whether O'Brien has a real interest in Finnish politics is uncertain, but his gags and mock campaign ads for Halonen have not gone unnoticed in this Nordic country of 5.2 million.
Thus proving Finns do indeed have a sense of humour beond the totally unfunny (and my distant cousin) Emo Phillips.

Oddly enough, I was going to sit out this election, my first as a Finnish citizen, because I obtained my citizenship too late to have followed the issues in my ancestral home. I do have an absentee ballot I can file, even tho the first round of the election has ended. (PS If you follow the link, you'll see the Finland, arguably the most technoologically advanced country on the planet, where you can buy a soda from a vending machine with your cellphone, files paper ballots as absentee)

You heard me correctly. First round. There's a mandatory run-off round if a candidate doesn't receive 50% of the direct vote. Maybe HAVA should take a closer look at the Finnish elections?

I was leaning towards Halonen (mostly because her website has an English page), but was also intrigued by the conservative candidate, Sauli Niinisto. "Conservative" in this case would qualify as "liberal" in any state in America. Henrik Lax strikes me as a bit of a dreamer, but in Finland, maybe dreams do actually come true. I mean, here's a man who doesn't want to see Finland give up its principles just to kiss Bush's ass!

But then I found Heidi Hautala.

Under any circumstance, I will need to wait out today's results to see whom I shall vote for. But Conan's endorsement is sure helping me make up my mind....NOT!

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