Finland. The first round of the presidential election in
January was won as expected by the Candidate Party
candidate, former finance minister and President Sauli
Niinistö. Of the voters, 37% cast their vote on Niinistö. On
the other hand, it was a surprise that Green League
candidate Pekka Haavisto managed to take second place with
18.8%. That meant a great disappointment for the Center's
veteran politician Paavo Väyrynen, who had expected to
challenge Niinistö in a second round of elections. Väyrynen
came in third place, followed by Social Democrats leader
Paavo Lipponen and True Finns leader Timo Soini.
to countryaah, the decisive round in February was a clear victory for Niinistö, who got close to 63% of the vote against just over
37% for Haavisto. It was the first time in more than three
decades that a non-social Democrat became president and the
first time in over half a century that a candidate from the
Conservative party won the presidential election.
Finland's gun laws had been tightened several times in
recent years, including 2011 with an increased age limit for
weapons permits to 18 years and for small arms to 20 years,
but that could not prevent a new bloody shooting drama. In
May, two people were killed and seven injured when an
18-year-old boy opened fire in Hyvinge in Uusimaa. Like
after the school shootings in Jokela 2007 and Kauhajoki
2008, there was a new debate about the gun laws.
Amnesty International criticized Finland's handling of
asylum applications during the year. According to Amnesty,
the asylum process has become so rapid that it threatens
legal certainty. Finland was also criticized for total
refusal to serve military service and civilian service.
The Finnish industry's flagship, the telecom company
Nokia, had a black year in 2012 after almost 13 years as a
world leader in the mobile market. Sales, profitability and
share price collapsed when the company did not participate
in the global competition for smart phones. Several thousand
employees were forced to leave, many of them in Finland.
There was speculation that Nokia would relocate its
headquarters from Finland, which was dismissed by
However, Finland's state finances went well. In July, the
credit rating agency Moody's found that Finland was the only
euro area with the highest possible credit rating. At the
same time, after a tough political debate, the Riksdag said
yes to the eurozone crisis loans to Spain, however, on the
condition that collateral be provided for some of the loans.
The Assembly Party became the largest party nationally in
the municipal elections in October, with the Social
Democrats in second place and the Center in third. The true
Finns increased significantly in relation to the previous
municipal elections but had far to the result of the 2011
In November, a serious leakage of heavy metals occurred
at the Talvivaara mine in eastern Finland, where uranium is
mined. The plant and animal life of Lake Kivijärvi was
threatened by uranium-rich wastewater and large amounts of
nickel that ran into the water system. A criminal
investigation was initiated, and Environment Minister Ville
Niinistö was very critical to the mining company's actions.