Finnish presidential election, 1978

Finnish presidential election, 1978

15–16 January 1978

Nominee Urho Kekkonen Raino Westerholm
Party Centre Christian League
Electoral vote 259 25

President before election

Urho Kekkonen

Elected President

Urho Kekkonen

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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[4][5][6].


Alliance or party Votes % Seats
Supporters of Urho KekkonenSocial Democratic Party569,15423.274
Centre Party475,37219.464
Finnish People's Democratic League445,09818.256
National Coalition Party360,31014.745
Swedish People's Party88,0543.612
Coalition for Åland5,3310.21
Socialist Workers Party2,1870.10
Private Entrepreneurs' Party8930.00
Finnish Christian League215,2448.824
Finnish Rural Party114,4884.710
Constitutional People's Party82,4783.46
Finnish People's Unity Party18,5430.80
Invalid/blank votes21,955
Source: Nohln & Stöver

Electoral college

Candidate Party Votes %
Urho KekkonenCentre Party25986.3
Raino WesterholmFinnish Christian League258.3
Veikko VennamoFinnish Rural Party103.3
Ahti M. SalonenConstitutional People's Party62.0
Source: Nohlen & Stöver


  1. 1 2 Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p630 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. Nohlen & Stöver, p606
  3. Nohlen & Stöver, p624
  4. Timo Vihavainen (2003) "The Welfare Finland" (Hyvinvointi-Suomi), pp883–884 in Seppo Zetterberg et al., eds., A Small Giant of the Finnish History, WSOY
  5. Pentti Virrankoski (2009) A History of Finland, Finnish Literature Society, p963
  6. Aarno Laitinen et al., eds. (1981) Tamminiemi's Inheritance Dividers, Journalists Ltd
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