Time to Vote

After having already written (on 27.02.) one piece about “Communal Election”, I find that there is meanwhile some new material by which to pursue this discussion a bit further: The situation is of course still that there are exactly two parties (Kokoomus and the Greens) who have a chance of becoming the biggest party, by that getting a moral claim that their candidate should become Helsinki’s borgmästare.

The trouble is that this is only something like a moral claim, whereas the borgmästare is in fact elected by the assembly of the elected representatives of the various parties (while there is not any guarantee that these representatives will feel bound to observe the moral claim). And unluckily the election is not either organized like the election of the president of France (where a first vote may show two top candidates who each get less than 50 per cent, after which a second vote will show which one of them will become the president). And after even small parties have nominated candidates for the job of borgmästare (while presumably knowing well that the candidate has no chance whatsoever) there is a very real chance that any vote for some such small party is wasted as far as the position of borgmästare is concerned.

At this point some will wonder how important that position of bormästare really is. After all s/he is no dictator who can simply issue orders which then have to be obeyed; in the discussions what Helsinki city will actually do the representatives of all parties have a chance to participate, and also in the votes about different alternative courses of action. But unluckily there is this habit of the media to pay special attention to the opinions of whoever is the “top person” of Helsinki (whatever the official title of this person may be), i.e. the borgmästare will be a source of “political atmosphere” – when Jussi Pajunen was publicly dreaming about a railway tunnel to Tallinn, it became the only technical possibility talked/written about, and when he had said that one should not give anything to those Romani beggars, it happened several times that women were publicly telling me to do accordingly (which on one occasion nade me decide to give in protest against that admonishing, well-dressed woman). Thus, the question is what political atmosphere will “emanate” from each of the two top candidates.

On ons 29.03.17 Hbl was presenting Jan Vapaavuori as the candidate of Kokoomus for the job of borgmästare. Before declaring his candidacy he had held a high position in a European bank in Luxemburg. Now we know that Luxemburg is a better-known tax haven, where various banks are in the habit of helping rich people to cheat countries out of the taxes due to them – the very Claude Juncker has been busy with that … . Of course we do not know whether and how far just Jan Vapaavuori has been involved in such somewhat “shady” doings, nor do we even know whether he has been in any way “infected” with a possible according “culture of Luxemburg”. But we know what Hbl was writing about his opinions and tendencies. For example he ascribes it to the political line of Kokoomus that “Helsingfors klarar sig jättebra i många internationella jämförelser” – which presumably means that he intends to continue that line. As one of his opinions is also mentioned that there is a global megatrend “att staternas inflytande minskar medan storstädernas och storföretagens betydelse ökar”. And there is no sign that he intends to counteract that trend in any way. Rather, he intends to concentrate on Helsinki, so that it can “behålla sin konkurrenskraft” (whatever that means) – obviously unaware that there is already now quite some tension between Finland inside vs. outside of Kehä III (to which we, I think, owe quite some of the success of the Perussuomalaiset). Certainly he also says that “Helsingfors är den mest internationella , multikulturella, toleranta och öppna platsen in Finland och det är egenskaper som måste främjas även i framtiden”. But if we remember what the line of Kokoomus has been up to now, and that he seemingly intends to continue that line, and is himself in the bank business, then certain doubts may be justified. As to myself, I have since quite some time been bothered by the impression that every square meter in Helsinki has to earn its right to exist by being commercially profitable. And somehow it “smells” to me that this at least will not change with Jan Vapaavuori as borgmästare.

I do not have much to say in praise of Anni Sinnemäki, simply because I do not know enough about her. But she does have quite some experience about Helsinki politics, and I do not think that she will publicly encourage people to be nasty to other, less-goodlooking, people, nor do I think that she will publicly dream about astronomically expensive technical visions. Thus, as long as the candidates of Vänsterförbundet have not publicly said that they intend to vote for Anni Sinnemäki as borgmästare (the way Jan D. Oker-Blom has meanwhile announced that he intends to vote for Vapaavuori), I can only advise to vote Green; a candidate of Vänsterförbundet was telling me that Otso Kivekäs were a Green candidate with whom Vänsterförbundet would have little difficulties to cooperate – thus I intend to vote for him, but there may also be other, similar candidates.

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2 Responses to Time to Vote

  1. Bert says:

    Å andra sidan vill de gröna nagga centralparken i kanterna och chockhöja arrendena i Kottby, Forsby, Gumtäkt och Majstad. Och hon Sinnemäki ger ett ganska flummigt intryck..

    • Ernst Mecke says:

      I am fully aware of these problems (how was the saying? – “The Greens are the gardening department of Kokoomus” …, and also think that Anni Sinnemäki’s voice needs getting used to), but what is the alternative? In the long run one could, e.g. try to change the way how the borgmästare is being elected (along the lines of the French presidental election), but at present we have to live with the present rules. Thus, just try to find a Green candidate who is more to your liking (a “deep-red” Green one). Anyway I should not like the atmosphere which we can expect from a borgmästare who at least CAN have picked up some thinking-habits from some bank business in Luxemburg (this on top of the political habits which we know already from Kokoomus …).


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