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Mika Aaltola Announces Presidential Bid

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Mika Aaltola, the current director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA), said on Thursday that he would run for president.

In a long speech, the political outsider Aaltola said that what distinguishes him from other candidates is that he “stands up for Finland’s interests”. It is not clear what he specifically meant by this, but Aaltola has in the past strongly criticised party politics.

Asked whose votes Aaltola is seeking, he mentioned the “silent majority”. He said that his meetings are attended by many people whose concerns are related to “fundamental values”.

His announcement speech mentioned nature, geopolitics, equality, inequality and energy, among others. Aaltola also said that he wanted Finland to put more money into defence.

Aaltola’s public presence became more prominent after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. As a foreign policy expert, he became a sought after media figure, which propelled him to the top of a presidential poll last autumn. Aaltola has no political experience and has never held elected office.

Aaltola is seeking the nomination through a voters’ association — as are Pekka Haavisto (Green) and Olli Rehn (Cen). Aaltola now needs to collect 20,000 signatures to officially become a candidate.

While Haavisto and Rehn are not running directly through their party infrastructures, both the Green Party and Centre Party have endorsed their respective candidates.

Other candidates so far are Jussi Halla-aho (Finns), Harry “Hjallis” Harkimo (MN) and Paavo Väyrynen (Cen).

Lesser known political names include Laura Huhtasaari‘s (Finns) sister Saara Huhtasaari and lawyer Jaana Kavonius, both of whom are running with voter associations as opposed to political parties as well.

The first round of the presidential election will take place on Sunday 28 January 2024, with the deadline for submitting candidacy applications being 12 December.

Source: Yle

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