1978 Finnish presidential election

← 1968 15–16 January 1978 1982 →
Urho Kekkonen
Raino Westerholm
Candidate Urho Kekkonen Raino Westerholm
Party Centre Christian League
Electoral vote 259 25
Popular vote 2,017,631 215,244

Veikko Vennamo
Candidate Veikko Vennamo Ahti M. Salonen
Party Rural Party Constitutional People's Party
Electoral vote 10 6
Popular vote 114,488 82,478

President before election

Urho Kekkonen

Elected President

Urho Kekkonen

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]


Popular vote

Party or allianceVotes%Seats
Supporters of Urho KekkonenSocial Democratic Party569,15423.2574
Centre Party475,37219.4264
Finnish People's Democratic League445,09818.1856
National Coalition Party360,31014.7245
Swedish People's Party88,0543.6012
Åland Coalition5,3310.221
Socialist Workers Party2,1870.090
Private Entrepreneurs' Party8930.040
Finnish Christian League215,2448.7924
Finnish Rural Party114,4884.6810
Constitutional People's Party82,4783.376
Finnish People's Unity Party18,5430.760
Valid votes2,448,38499.11
Invalid/blank votes21,9550.89
Total votes2,470,339100.00
Registered voters/turnout3,844,27964.26
Source: Nohlen & Stöver

Electoral college

Urho KekkonenCentre Party25986.33
Raino WesterholmFinnish Christian League258.33
Veikko VennamoFinnish Rural Party103.33
Ahti M. SalonenConstitutional People's Party62.00
Source: Nohlen & Stöver


  1. ^ a b 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