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Home NATIONALVanhanen to contest in Presidential polls
Mon, 13 Jun, 2016 01:38:34 AM
FTimes-Xinhua Report, June 13

The ruling Suomen Keskusta (Centre Party) on Sunday confirmed the presidential candidacy of former Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen.

The nomination of Vanhanen for the President election was announced at the party council held in Seinäjoki.

Vanhanen said his campaign slogan would be "Foreign Policy Together".

Discussing the situation in northern Europe, Vanhanen said Russia needs not to be afraid that Finnish soil could be used for hostilities against Russia.

The presidential candidate called for striving towards maintaining the geopolitical stability in northern Europe by keeping Finland and Sweden outside NATO.

However, Vanhanen said that if stability in the region falters "for reasons not in our control," national leaders must have the ability to assess the situation again, together with the whole nation.

Vanhanen, now 60, ran for presidency in 2006 and got around 600,000 votes in the first round, but did not make it to the second round.

Next presidential election is set for January 2018. Current President Sauli Niinistö has not yet said whether he will run for another term.

The Centre Party has long traditions of accentuating the importance of good relations between Finland and Russia.

Long time President Urho Kekkonen (in office 1956-1981) was from the party, known at that time as Agrarian League. The party changed its name into Centre in 1960s.

The concept of assuring Russia that no threat comes from Finland or over Finland was a key part of the foreign policy thinking in post-war Finland.

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