Thursday, January 19, 2006

I know that you're all following the presidential elections in Finland, where incumbent Tarja Halonen won the first round of voting but failed to take a majority of the vote. Halonen will be facing conservative candidate Sauli Niinisto in a run-off election on January 29, where the main issues facing the voters are traditionally neutral Finland's European Union membership, the extent to which Finland will cooperate with NATO, and whether Finland's president should physically resemble late-nite host Conan O'Brien.

Conan and Halonen actually do look freakishly similar (click here for a side-by-side photo), and it's pretty funny when Conan makes mention of it on his show. I mean, the bitching by Niinisto's supporters about how Conan is mocking the Finnish political process notwithstanding, he is a comedian and it's his job to point out how absurd it is that his doppleganger is a woman twenty years his senior who also happens to rule Finland. But then the American media picked up the story that Halonen's campaign is running real political ads alongisde Conan's fake ads, and now some pundits (Finland has pundits?) are thinking that Conan might actually affect the election. So, it's refreshing to know that we're not the only country in the world with a dippy electorate.

But say whatever you want about the Finns, at least none of their politicians were ever caught making a Japanese soft-drink commercial.