Finland’s Stubb extends lead in opinion poll ahead of election

Finland’s Stubb extends lead in opinion poll ahead of election
Finland’s Stubb extends lead in opinion poll ahead of election

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Presidential candidate Alexander Stubb attends the opening of his electoral cafe in central Helsinki, Finland, January 11, 2024. — Reuters pic

HELSINKI, Jan 18 — Finnish centre-right presidential front-runner Alexander Stubb slightly extended his lead against liberal Green Party member Pekka Haavisto in a new opinion poll published today ahead of the Jan. 28 election.

The winner will succeed Sauli Niinisto, who is stepping down after two six-year terms, in a new era marked by the country joining NATO last April prompted by neighbouring Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

The Jan. 12-17 survey commissioned by Maaseudun Tulevaisuus newspaper showed 24 per cent of respondents backing Stubb, a former prime minister and a member of the governing National Coalition Party, while 21 per cent supported Haavisto, who until last year was foreign minister.

Support for Stubb increased by 1 percentage point from a similar survey a month ago as backing for Haavisto fell by 2 percentage points in the same period, while in November Haavisto led Stubb by more than 7 percentage points.

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Support for far-right Finns Party candidate Jussi Halla-aho increased by 3 percentage points to 15 per cent, placing him third in the poll.

Halla-aho is particularly popular among young people, as shown by an unofficial poll of some 94,000 teenagers organised by the Finnish National Youth Council, placing Halla-aho second with 20.8 per cent support, right behind winner Stubb at 21.5 per cent.

Other candidates include the EU’s former economic commissioner and Bank of Finland governor Olli Rehn, who was fourth in the poll with 12 per cent support, and social democrat EU Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen who got 7 per cent backing.

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The president is the commander-in-chief of Finland’s defence forces, represents Finland in NATO meetings and leads foreign policy in cooperation with the government.

A second round run-off will be held on Feb. 11 if no candidate wins more than 50 per cent of the vote on January 28. — Reuters

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