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Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg

Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg (January 28, 1865 - September 22, 1952), First president of Finland 1919-1925

Ståhlberg was born in Suomussalmi, Finland. He was christened Carl Johan, which he later changed to Finnish form like most fennomans[?], supporters of Finnish language and culture. In Oulu Finnish lycee he was the first in his class. 1889 he graduated as a Bachelor of Arts in law. He had a long career as the presenter and planner of senate legislation even when Finland was still Russian Grand Duchy. He supported constitutional legislative policies, including legislative resistance, eventually even female suffrage and had a moderate line in Prohibition legislation.

In the beginning of the Finnish independence he became a chairman of the constitutional council. They formed the first forms of Finnish constitution as an independent state. He tried to form relations with Britain. 1918 Ståhlberg supported the idea of republic instead of then-popular constitutional monarchy – the idea collapsed after would-be king Friedrich Karl von Hessen declined. He also supported direct presidential election but the senate chose the elector system.

The Senate elected Ståhlberg president July 27, 1919. As a president he was formal and due to his shyness, wrote beforehand everything he had to say in public. He was a widower and remarried 1920, during his term. He had to form various parliamentarian precedents and interpretations and nominate many short-lived governments.

Ståhlberg did not seek re-election 1925. He became a senior member of law-making council. He was a presidential candidate 1913 and 1937 but was not elected. 1930-1932 he was a member of a parliament and resisted right-wing anti-parliamentarian initiatives. 1930 members of right-wing Lapua movement kidnapped him and his wife and tried to transport them to Soviet Union but the incident merely hastened the movement's demise.

After 1946 Ståhlberg retired and became legal adviser of Juho Kusti Paasikivi. He died 1952 and was buried with full honors.

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