A tall man with dark-rimmed glasses hands over a folded piece of paper and shows his driver’s license. The young woman behind the counter of the post office looks at the ID and smiles. It’s Prime Minister Juha Sipilä.
The folded paper holds a number of the candidate Sipilä has voted on Wednesday morning, the first day of the advance voting in the municipal elections. Outside the post office, Sipilä says that he hopes that the turnout of voters would rise to over 60 percent. “It would require a different kind of enthusiasm that we have yet seen.”
During last elections in 2012, the turnout was 58.3 percent. One of the reasons for a low-ish turnout is the passiveness of youth. Sipilä is asked how the young people, the future of Finland, could become more active. Sipilä has clearly already pondered on the answer: The age limit of voting could be lowered to 16, instead of the present age of 18.
According to Sipilä, the voting enthusiasm is yet to rise as we get closer to the election day. “It has risen recently when I have been going around, there are clear signs of rising enthusiasm.”
But who did Prime Minister Sipilä vote for?
“Now a woman received a vote,” he said. Sipilä’s home municipality is in Kempele, south of the city of Oulu in Northern Finland, so he was obliged to vote for a candidate there. Sipilä added that there’s a good reason justifying his vote.
Among others, Sipilä’s wife Minna-Maaria Sipilä is a Centre Party candidate in Kempele.
Advance voting runs from March 29 – April 4. April 9 is the election day and the last day to vote.