Finland’s first female president looks likely to stay in the job, with every sign she will triumph in elections this weekend. For Tarja Halonen the main question seems to be: can she win outright? Or will she have to face a second round run-off to kick her challengers into touch? Among those hoping to upset the forecasts is the country’s prime minister.
Centrist Matti Vanhanen has been making ground in the opinion polls. However he remains well behind the president. She is backed by the Social Democrats and other left-leaning groups. Voter surveys show her closest challenge looks set to come from Conservative Sauli Niinisto, a survivor of the tsunami.