The second president
In office from 1925
Lauri Kristian Relander was born in 1883 at Kurkijoki, a small county nowadays belonging to Russia. Aiming at a career as a researcher, he got his PhD from the University of Helsinki in 1914. He worked as an assistant in an agriculturar research facility at Tikkurila's Jokiniemi area in Vantaa between 1908 and 1917.
Science eventually gave way to politics. Relander served two terms as a Rural party representative in the parliament, including a period as the speaker. He was elected the governor of the Viipuri region in 1920.
In the 1925 presidential election, Relander was chosen as his party's candidate a day before the electoral vote took place, after K.J. Ståhlberg's sudden refusal for candidacy. Relander won the front-runner Risto Ryti by votes from the right wing and the rural party.
The main target of Relander's activities during his years in office was enforcing the parlamentary system, as well as continuing Ståhlberg's work in bringing together the two sides who fought eachother in the civil war. Relander personally took part in discussing bills and kept an eye on the government's actions. He dissolved the parliament on two occasions: in 1929 due to differences caused by civil servants' wages, and in 1930 to help pass a law prohibiting communist activities.
Improving Finland's Foreign relations was an equally notable part of Relander's presidential career. He made numerous state visits to countries including Sweden and Estonia, which are now looked as very important factors in building an international status for Finland after it gained independence.
Furthermore, one of our second president's goals was to bring the head of the republic closer to the public. Unfortunately he didn't really manage to achieve during his term.
The Agrarian Union didn't elect Relander as a candidate for the next precidency, so in 1931 he became a senior executive in an insurance company. He remained in this position until his death in 1942.
In 1996 Lauri Kristian Relander got his own monument in Helsinki, sculptured by Matti Peltokangas.
Books: Mitä Missä Milloin 2001, Gummeruksen Uusi Tietosanakirja
Web: University of Tampere, Helsingin Sanomat, Virtual Finland
Not a cut'n'paste writeup.