Pekka Olavi Haavisto (born 23 March 1958) is a Finnish politician of the Green League who has been serving as the Minister for Foreign Affairs since 2019.
Haavisto returned to the Finnish Parliament in the Finnish parliamentary election of March 2007 after an absence of 12 years and was re-elected again in 2011, 2015, and 2019. Between April 1995 and April 1999 he was the Minister of Environment in the Lipponen I Cabinet. In October 2013 he was appointed as the Minister for International Development after Heidi Hautala resigned from the job. He has also been a member of the Helsinki City Council.
He was also a candidate for the 2012 Finnish presidential election and 2018 Finnish presidential election coming second and losing to Sauli Niinistö in both times. Haavisto became the first openly gay candidate to run for the presidency of Finland.
Haavisto was a member of the Parliament of Finland from 1987 to 1995. He was the chairperson of the Green League from 1993 to 1995. He served as the Minister of the Environment in Paavo Lipponen's first cabinet between 1995 and 1999. He was the first European cabinet minister representing a Green party.
From 1999 to 2005, Haavisto worked for the United Nations in various tasks. He led the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) research groups in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia, Palestine and Sudan. He also coordinated the UN investigation in the effects of depleted uranium in Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Haavisto also represented the UNEP in the investigations in the Baia Mare mining accident in Romania. In 2005 he was appointed as the special representative of the European Union in Sudan where he participated in the Darfur peace talks.
In 2007 and 2011 Haavisto was re-elected to the parliament from the electoral district of Helsinki.
Presidential election 2012
In 2011, Haavisto was nominated as the Green League candidate for the Finnish presidential election of 2012. In the first round of the election on 22 January 2012, he finished second with 18.8 percent of the votes. In the run-off on 5 February, he garnered more than one million votes (37.4 percent), yet still losing to the National Coalition Party candidate, former Finance Minister Sauli Niinistö.
Haavisto was the first openly gay candidate and the first male candidate to have served in non-military service instead of the regular military service to make it to the second round of presidential elections in Finland.
Presidential election 2018
In February 2017, Haavisto announced that he would reprise his candidacy in the 2018 presidential election. The decision came after Haavisto had been approached multiple times by the Green League. In the election, Haavisto placed second with 12.4 percent of the votes, while president Niinistö went on to secure his second term with a majority of votes.
Return as chairman
In October 2018, the chairman of the Green League Touko Aalto announced that he is resigning from his post, citing depression and fatigue. The decision prompted an immediate leadership election, with the goal to elect a temporary chairman to lead the party into the 2019 parliamentary elections and until the next party convention. As many members of the party called for more prominent and experienced politicians to take part in the election, Haavisto announced his candidacy. On 4 November 2018, he defeated MP Outi Alanko-Kahiluoto in a leadership election and was thus chosen to lead the party.
In June 2019, Haavisto stepped down as the chairman of the party. He was succeeded by Maria Ohisalo.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, 2019–present
Following their best ever result in the 2019 national elections and after becoming part of the incoming governing coalition under the leadership of Prime Minister Antti Rinne, the Greens named Haavisto as the next foreign minister. In this capacity, he chaired the meetings of the Foreign Affairs Council during Finland’s rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2019.
- European Institute of Peace (EIP), Chairman of the Board of Governors (since 2016)
In 2019, Haavisto called for the EU to intensify efforts on improving relations with Russia in the face of international conflict, transatlantic tensions and Brexit.
After completing the matriculation examination of the upper secondary school, Haavisto began studying social sciences at the University of Helsinki but did not complete the degree. As a young man he chose non-military service over armed service in the Defence Forces.
Haavisto is openly gay; he lives in a registered partnership with Nexar Antonio Flores, an Ecuadorian man since 2002, they have been together since 1997 when they met in a Bogota night club.
According to the ranking of the Finnish Ulkopolitiikka magazine in 2009 Pekka Haavisto was internationally the 5th most influential person in Finland.