Member of the European Parliament Nils Torvalds has been confirmed as the presidential candidate of the Swedish People's Party of Finland at the party's convention in Helsinki. Torvalds was the only one to stand for election for the Swedish People's Party presidential candidacy.
In an emotional speech held after his selection, Torvalds announced his campaign would attempt to return Finland to a more liberal path of language and cultural politics.
Speaking with Yle, Torvalds said the upcoming election will center around global issues such as security.
"Europe is facing new challenges. Old securitures built after the war are crumbling and will fall apart in the long run. Europe has to think about how it will build new, sustainable security structures," Torvalds said.
71-year-old Torvalds is a former Yle journalist. Torvalds retired in 2008 after two decades at Yle, during which he worked as a correspondent in Russia and the United States. Torvalds was selected to the European Parliament in 2012.
Torvalds will be up against political heavyweights in the upcoming election. President Sauli Niinistö is seeking a second term in office as a non-affiliated candidate, and has long been tipped as a favourite to win the election. Ex-Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen will represent the Centre Party, while former presidential candidate Pekka Haavisto will re-enter the ring for the Greens. MEP and former Transport Minister Merja Kyllönen will run on behalf of the Left Alliance.
The presidential election will be held on 28 January 2018.