Poll on handling foreign policy

Turun Sanomat published a poll (fi) that asked respondents to rate politicians' handling of foreign policy on a scale of four to ten - Helsingin Sanomat has more numbers (fi). Speaker of the Parliament Sauli Niinistö (National Coalition Party) and President Tarja Halonen (Social Democratic Party) scored the best, 7.9 and 7.8 respectively. Foreign Minister Ilkka Kanerva (Coalition) at 7.5 narrowly pipped Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen (Centre Party) at 7.4 for third place.

The Speaker of course doesn't handle foreign policy at all, so one wonders how the respondents were able to rate Niinistö's performance. Still, he's probably pleased; it's the sort of question on which prospective presidential candidates should hope to do well. As for Vanhanen, in addition to losing to his Foreign Minister among all respondents, he lost to Niinistö 8.0 to 7.9 even among Centrists only. It seems that foreign policy is considered something of a weakness for him.

According to the same poll, 82 percent supported the current model in which the President together with the government is in charge of foreign policy, thus making supporters of pure parlamentarism gnash their teeth.

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