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Foreign minister Haavisto tops Yle’s presidential poll

Finland’s presidential elections won’t start until late January 2024, and so far, no one has announced their candidacy yet.

President Sauli Niinistö’s second term won’t come to an end before 2024, but surveys have recently found that foreign policy veterans would have the best chances in succeeding him.

This was also the case in Yle’s latest presidential poll, published on Tuesday, which found the most support for foreign affairs minister Pekka Haavisto(Green), who was the most popular choice, particularly among women and young adults.

Haavisto, who has been a media staple over the past year due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, received support from 25 percent of the survey’s respondents.

Last month, a similar poll by farmer’s union circular Maaseudun Tulevaisuus also showed Haavisto as the favourite possible candidate.

Trailing behind him in Yle’s survey was the Bank of Finland’s Governor, Olli Rehn, with 14 percent support. Much of that backing came from high earners and voters in rural areas. Rehn started his political career in the late 80s and most recently served in domestic politics as economic affairs minister from 2010 to 2014, belonging to the Centre Party.

Last March, Rehn topped a similar survey.

In third place was the Director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Mika Aaltola, who received about 11 percent of support, roughly equally from men and women potential voters. Aaltola is not a politician, but has also often appeared in the media as an expert, particularly since Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

The former chair of the Finns Party and current chair of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Jussi Halla-aho, came in fourth place in Yle’s survey, with seven percent support.

Current Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) also received seven percent of support in the poll. She was closely trailed by Alexander Stubb — with six percent support — who previously served as a National Coalition Party politician as both PM and foreign affairs minister.

The remainder of people that the respondents named each received two percent of support, including current education minister Li Andersson(Left), the Christian Democrats’ chair Sari Essayah and Finland’s Ambassador to the US, Mikko Hautala.

Survey participants were shown a list of 38 names and were asked to list their top five choices to be the country’s next president. After all the answers were compiled, the top three picks were all the same.

Finland’s presidential elections won’t start until late January 2024, and so far, no one has announced their candidacy yet.

Meanwhile, the country is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections in April of this year.

The Yle-sponsored survey was carried out by Taloustutkimus between 12-19 December 2022. It queried 1,742 people and had a margin of error of two percentage points in either direction.

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