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Finnish presidential election, 1978

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Title: Finnish presidential election, 1978  
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Subject: Finnish presidential election, 1940, Finnish presidential election, 1946, Finnish presidential election, 1919, Finnish parliamentary election, 1966, Finnish presidential election, 1937
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Finnish presidential election, 1978

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

Two-stage presidential elections were held in Finland in 1978, the first since 1968 after Urho Kekkonen's term was extended by four years by Parliament.[1] The public elected presidential electors to an electoral college on 15 and 16 January.[2] They in turn elected the President. The result was a victory for Urho Kekkonen, who won on the first ballot.[1] The turnout for the popular vote was 64.3.[3] Kekkonen had in the spring of 1975 agreed to become the Social Democratic presidential candidate, and after that all the major Finnish political parties chose him as their candidate. Kekkonen's opponents, such as the Christian League's presidential candidate Raino Westerholm, claimed that Kekkonen's long presidency weakened the Finnish democracy. Over one-third of the Finnish voters abstained from voting, partly as a protest against Kekkonen's expected landslide victory. The 77-year-old President Kekkonen's health was already declining, although this fact was not easily noticeable in his public appearances (see, for example, Timo Vihavainen, "The Welfare Finland" (Hyvinvointi-Suomi), pgs. 883-884 in Seppo Zetterberg et al., eds., A Small Giant of the Finnish History / Suomen historian pikkujättiläinen. Helsinki: WSOY, 2003; Pentti Virrankoski, A History of Finland / Suomen historia, volumes 1&2. Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society (Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura), 2009, pg. 963; Aarno Laitinen et al., eds., Tamminiemi's Inheritance Dividers (Tamminiemen pesänjakajat). Helsinki: Journalists Ltd. (Lehtimiehet Oy), 1981).


Popular vote

Alliance or party Votes % Seats
Supporters of Urho Kekkonen Social Democratic Party 569,154 23.2 74
Centre Party 475,372 19.4 64
Finnish People's Democratic League 445,098 18.2 56
National Coalition Party 360,310 14.7 45
Swedish People's Party 88,054 3.6 12
Liberals 71,232 2.9 8
Coalition for Åland 5,331 0.2 1
Socialist Workers Party 2,187 0.1 0
Private Entrepreneurs' Party 893 0.0 0
Finnish Christian League 215,244 8.8 24
Finnish Rural Party 114,488 4.7 10
Constitutional People's Party 82,478 3.4 6
Finnish People's Unity Party 18,543 0.8 0
Invalid/blank votes 21,955
Total 2,470,339 100 300
Source: Nohln & Stöver

Electoral college

Candidate Party Votes %
Urho Kekkonen Centre Party 259 86.3
Raino Westerholm Finnish Christian League 25 8.3
Veikko Vennamo Finnish Rural Party 10 3.3
Ahti Salonen Constitutional People's Party 6 2.0
Total 300 100
Source: Nohlen & Stöver


  1. ^ a b Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p630 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p606
  3. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p624
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