Helsingin Sanomat claims that the former, ousted Prime Minister, Anneli Jäätteenmäki, would be her party's favourite again, after Matti Vanhanen resigns next summer. Whoa. Somehow I don't quite trust HS here: they of course have an incentive to build a sensational headline about Jäätteenmäki's overwhelming support in her party. Well, even according to them, it isn't that overwhelming: 28 %. A significant percentage has been given to candidates who surely will not run, Olli Rehn for instance.
If no new candidates turn up, the Prime Minister will be either Paavo Väyrynen or Mari Kiviniemi. Paavo is remembered well already from his expense scandal in 1970's, and is a rather loathsome figure outside the party, although I'd expect that once his personal ambition has reached its climax, he'd be an experienced, shrewed and tenacious politician serving the nation. Unless he develops another ambition, like running for the President of the World, or something.
Mari Kiviniemi would probably do OK, she is just a bit dull. But hey, that's what we thought of Matti Vanhanen as well when he replaced Jäätteenmäki, who had lost confidence. And look what we got - a divorce, headlines about various girlfriends, and lots of jokes about Ikea, oven potatoes and birch planks.
But if Center Party is at all interested in keeping their position in the next election, they'll not elect Jäätteenmäki. And they probably shouldn't elect Väyrynen either, although his reputation isn't what it used to be. Mauri Pekkarinen is another alias for disaster, and the only other option that wouldn't hurt the party badly would be Seppo Kääriäinen, who has somehow managed to maintain a rather sympathetic image. But he may feel too old to run.
Mari Kiviniemi would be the first Prime Minister who is younger than me (her age at the moment is the nice and well-known figure 42).
And please, let's not do any of that "we must elect a woman" crap. I don't care about the gender of the Prime Minister, I care for his/her (or should I say "its") ability to work for the government, and I hope the new government lead will have some sense, that's all.